"China is preparing for war," warned Rahul Gandhi, accusing the Narendra Modi government of "sleeping" and "ignoring the Chinese build-up in India's borders".
Gandhi made these comments at a press conference in Jaipur on the sidelines of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
This are Gandhi's exact quotes:
"The threat of China is absolutely clear. I have been saying it since 2-3 years. The government is trying to hide it and ignore it. This threat can't be hidden or ignored."
"China has a full preparation on the Ladakh side and Arunachal side. The government of India is sleeping and doesn't want to admit it.
"China is preparing for war, not just an incursion. This is clear from the kind of weapons China has deployed there. Our government is hiding it. The government does event based work, it doesn't work strategically. In international relations, events don't work, power does."
Not just the government, Gandhi also accused the media of giving the Modi government a free pass on the China issue.
"Before I came to this press conference. I was having lunch with my friend here (points to KC Venugopal). I said to him 'I bet you the press will not ask me a question on China. Press will ask me about everything - left, right, Yatra, Sachin Pilot, Ashok Gehlot - but they won't ask me even one question about China.
"China has captured 2000 square kilometers of Indian territory, which has martyred 20 of our soldiers, which is thrashing our soldiers in Arunachal Pradesh....The country is watching, don't thin that they aren't".
Why is this Important?
The Modi government is seen to be adopting a cautious approach towards China, not making any comments that could escalate matters.
Some say this is a practical stand, given the advantage of resources that China has. On the other hand, the Opposition has been targeting the Modi government for being 'soft' on China and not calling it out openly.
It does seem that Modi government's sabre-rattling is to be restricted to Pakistan and not China. While there may be tactical reasons behind it, it is indeed odd that while in Opposition, Modi had accused the then Manmohan Singh of not taking on China. According to Modi, China had been "glaring with red eyes towards India".
It is unlikely that Gandhi's comments would make the Modi government change its approach towards China. However, it remains to be seen whether Gandhi and the rest of the Opposition are able to use this issue to corner the government.