Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Arunachal Pradesh Tapir Gao on Tuesday claimed that it was during Congress' regime China occupied Sumdorong Chu Valley in Tawang and added that the then army chief planned an operation but former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi denied him permission to push back People's Liberation Army troops.
The MP from Arunachal East pointed out that China has been constructing roads in the region since the 1980s.
The comments of the BJP leader came after the Opposition questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government over the alleged construction of a village in the territory.
Gao blamed the Congress and its policies for the Chinese construction on and inside the McMahon line, while maintaining that the land where the village has been constructed is already under China's occupation.
"Since 80s China is constructing roads. They've built Longju to Maza road. During Rajiv Gandhi's regime, China occupied Sumdorong Chu Valley in Tawang. The then army chief planned an op but Rajiv Gandhi denied him permission to push back PLA," he said.
"Since the 80s till today, they (China) are occupying this area and construction of villages is not a new thing. They have already constructed military base between Bisa and Maza which is inside McMahon Line, under Indian territory," Gao added.
He pointed out that "There was a wrong policy of government during the Congress regime. They didn't construct roads up to the border which left a buffer zone of 3-4 km which China occupied. Construction of new villages isn't a new thing, it's all inherited from Congress."
The BJP MP praised the Modi government for building two-lane roads till the border.
"This is not a new issue for people of Arunachal Pradesh. The new village might have been constructed but the land was occupied during the Congress regime. It has a mini hydel project on Tsari Su, the actual local name is Lensi, and army infrastructure. They will keep on constructing if there are no demarcations on basis of McMahon line. The Congress should answer why the Chinese have been able to occupy the land," Gao said.
"Operation Pelican was hatched to flush out the Chinese army. But Rajiv Gandhi quashed the plan and instead went to Beijing in 1986 and came back empty-handed. From the 80s till today, the Chinese have occupied this area and they have constructed a military base on land in the Indian Territory as per McMahon line. I don't know what happened to Indian intelligence reported to the Government of India," stated Gao.
"I had raised the issue in Parliament in zero-hour how China has occupied the upper Subansiri district," he added.
Lashing out at Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for a tweet over the issue, Gao asked if he would make an agreement between Rahul Gandhi and Chinese President Xi Jinping public.
"I have read a tweet of Shashi Tharoor and Owaisi. I would like to request Tharoor whether he would be able to give an agreement signed by Rahul Gandhi and Xi Jinping and whether Arunachal and Aksai Chin were mentioned in the agreement. Before Opposition questions the PM, they should try to answer this," said Gao.
Giving a historical background to the issue, Gao maintained that Indians should use Indian names rather than names given by the Chinese to places and rivers.
"Local name of this river is Lensi river, Chinese may call it Tsari Su. In 1959 Assam rifle and Sikh regiment were posted in Longzu. In 1962 Assam rifles were martyred by the Chinese and took over the area. Since the 80s, PLA is constructing roads," said Gao.
The BJP MP also said that one should not use Line of Actual Control in place of the Mcmahon line.
"We are with LAC in Ladakh but not in Arunachal Pradesh. We have the Mcmahon line in Arunachal. If we call the Mcmahon line as Line of Actual Control, it means we are considering that we have surrendered our area to China," Gao added.
The ministry of external affairs on Monday said that it has seen recent reports on China undertaking construction work along with the border areas with India and asserted that the government keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India's security and takes all the necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The MEA said China has undertaken such infrastructure construction in the past several years and the government too has stepped up border infrastructure which has provided much-needed connectivity to the local population.
MEA's response came after a media report that China has resorted to construction in the border area in Arunachal Pradesh.
There were reports earlier of China having constructed three new villages near Arunachal Pradesh border.India and China are in a standoff in Ladakh for over eight months following actions of the Chinese Army.