NEW DELHI: Training his guns at the Modi government over its alleged “surrender” of Indian territory to “appease” the Chinese, former defence minister AK Antony said on Sunday he was sad to see the government failing to prioritise national security.

Antony, who served as defence minister for a decade during the UPA regime, said India is facing, for the first time, “a two-front, war-like situation” with Pakistan on one side and China on the other, and said India was setting a dangerous precedent with its decision to disengage and create “buffer zones”.

Choosing the second anniversary of the Pulwama attack to target the Modi government on national security issues, Antony said defence minister Rajnath Singh’s statement about the recent disengagement at Pangong Tso Lake was a surrender of Indian land, not disengagement.

“We have lost rights to areas that are historically and traditionally controlled by India. If this pattern repeats itself in areas like Gogra Hot Springs and Arunachal Pradesh, I don’t know what will happen. This government doesn’t realise the dangers this precedent of disengagement and creating buffer zone sets,” he added.

Antony said Indian soldiers had control of the strategically significant Kailash Ranges, but were vacated following negotiations with China. “We agreed to withdraw from there (Kailash Ranges). At Pangong Tso, we patrolled up to Finger 8, where LAC is, but after disengagement, we agreed to return to Finger 3, where we have a permanent base, even though India has a post at Finger 4. It is very clear; India surrendered and China gained,” he said.

The former defence minister also asserted that the surrender of the loss of Kailash ranges meant Indian lost a crucial bargaining chip and though efforts to maintain peace were always welcome, none of it could be done at the cost of national security.

“Galwan valley was never a disputed area. Even in 1962 it was always part and parcel of India. For the first time, they entered inside Indian territory and we lost 20 of our brave soldiers including Col Santhosh Babu. Everyone thought government will protect our territory but they created a buffer zone. The result was that China returned to their permanent locations but Indian forces moved back from land they had been controlling, and creating buffer zones there,” he said.

Antony also warned that India’s decision to withdraw from Patrol point 14 could be strategically dangerous for India. “If china wants to create mischief, it can help Pakistan to capture the Siachen glacier,” he said.

The senior Congress leader and former defence minister also slammed the Modi government over its failure to substantially increase defence allocation in the 2021-22 Union budget, calling it a “betrayal of the people of the country, especially the armed forces” and that an increase of 1.48% over last’s revised budget was “meagre and insignificant”.

Antony also demanded that the government come clean on its plans to restore status quo ante as on mid-April 2020 on the entire India-China border, especially in Galwan, Pangong, Gogra and Depsang.