New Delhi: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Monday lashed out at External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for his ‘land occupied by China in 1962’ remark, and referred to the incursion in 2020 dubbing it as “biggest territorial setback for India in decades”.

Congress leader summed up the government’s strategy to deal with the Chinese incursions in Ladakh with “DDLJ – Deny, Distract, Lie, and Justify”.

His reaction comes two days after Jaishankar took a jibe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Indian land occupied by China remark, and said that the land was occupied during 1962 India-China war, and not recently.

“They (opposition) never tell you that the land that was occupied by China was in 1962. They give such an impression that it happened lately. I won’t go to the Chinese ambassador, but my military leadership for inputs,” Jaishankar had said.

Hitting out at the Minister for his remarks, Ramesh said that the EAM’s recent remarks are an attempt to “divert attention” from the government’s “failed China policy”.

“Since May 2020, the Modi government’s preferred strategy to deal with the Chinese incursions in Ladakh has been summed up with DDLJ – Deny, Distract, Lie, Justify. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent remarks attacking the Congress party are simply the latest attempt to divert attention from the Modi government’s failed China policy, the most recent revelation being that since May 2020 India has lost access to 26 of 65 patrolling points in Ladakh,” Ramesh said in a statement.

The Congress leader said that the situation in 1962, when the country fought a war with China, cannot be compared with the current one, after which India “acquiesced” to Chinese aggression with “denials”.

“The fact is that there is no comparison between 1962 when India went to war with China to defend its territory, and 2020 after which India has acquiesced to Chinese aggression with denials followed by ‘disengagements’ in which India has lost access to thousands of square kilometres of territory,” Ramesh said.

Hitting out at the Minister for questioning Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with the Chinese ambassador in 2017, the Congress leader asked if Opposition leaders are not entitled to meet diplomats from countries that are important from a “security standpoint”.

“EAM Jaishankar’s implied cheap shot at Shri Rahul Gandhi for meeting the Chinese ambassador in 2017 is ironic to say the least coming from someone who as ambassador to the US during the Obama administration presumably met with leading Republicans. Are opposition leaders not entitled to meet diplomats from countries that are important from a trade, investment and security standpoint?” Ramesh said.

He further said that the Narendra Modi government should have been “truthful from the start” and taken the opposition into confidence by discussing the China crisis in parliamentary standing committees and debating the issue in Parliament.

“At a very minimum it should have held detailed briefings for leaders of major political parties,” he said.

“No amount of obfuscation can hide the fact that the Modi government has sought to cover up India’s biggest territorial setback in decades that followed PM Modi’s naïve wooing of President Xi,” Ramesh added.