Arvind Kejriwal accused the government of not caring about soldiers

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government for "rewarding" China, instead of punishing it for the incursions along the de facto border, most recently in Arunachal Pradesh.

"While Chinese aggression is increasing, border tensions are rising, the BJP government aims to create the narrative that everything is fine. Instead of punishing China, the central government is rewarding them," he said, addressing the national council meeting of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi.

"We continue to increasingly buy goods from China. Why? In just 2020-21, we have bought goods worth $65 billion from China. When Chinese aggression increased, we bought goods worth $95 billion in the subsequent year. Can we not increase indigenous manufacturing manifold? The BJP government does not care about the lives of our soldiers," Mr Kejriwal alleged.

Indian soldiers prevented Chinese troops from entering Indian territory last week during a border face-off that led to injuries on both sides, the government said earlier this week, in the first such clash since 2020 between the Asian giants.

The incident occurred on December 9 in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China's south and is also claimed by Beijing.

Patrolling teams from both sides came face-to-face at one of the peaks and that in an ensuing hand-to-hand fight, some soldiers fell on the rocky surface and injured themselves, reports have said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament that the clash led to "injuries to a few personnel on both sides" but there were no "serious casualties on our side".

"PLA troops tried to transgress the LAC in Yangtse area of Tawang Sector and unilaterally change the status quo," Mr Singh said, referring to China's People's Liberation Army and the de facto border known as the Line of Actual Control.

"The Chinese attempt was contested by our troops in a firm and resolute manner. The ensuing face-off led to a physical fight in which the Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA from transgressing into our territory and compelled them to return to their posts," he said.

The fight was the first since deadly clashes in June 2020 when Indian and Chinese troops were involved in hand-to-hand combat in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh. That incident led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese troops.