Amidst a war of words between the Congress and the BJP over the face-off with China, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday said matters of national security shouldn't be politicised and added one cannot forget China had captured about 45000 sq kms of Indian land after the 1962 war.
Pawar's comments came in response to a query about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's charge that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had surrendered Indian territory to the Chinese aggression.
Pawar also said the Galwan Valley incident in Ladakh cannot immediately be labelled as a failure of the Defence Minister, as Indian soldiers were alert during patrolling.
Speaking to reporters here, the former Union minister said the entire episode is "sensitive" in nature.
It was China which played the provocateur in the Galwan Valley, he said.
Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash with their Chinese counterpart in eastern Ladakh on the night of June 15.
The former defence minister further said India had been constructing a road in Galwan Valley within its limits meant for communication purposes.
"What happened was they (the Chinese troops) tried to encroach on our road and were pushed physically. It was not somebody's failure. If somebody comes (within your territory) while you are patrolling, they may come at any time. We cannot immediately say it is the failure of the Defence Minister sitting in Delhi," Pawar said.
Patrolling was on there. There was a scuffle, which means you were alert. Had you not been, you would not even have realised when the they (Chinese troops) came and went. Hence, I don't think it is right to make such an allegation at this juncture, he said.
Responding to the allegation raised by Rahul Gandhi, Pawar said one cannot forget that China captured around 45,000 sq km of India's land, after the 1962 war between the two countries.
"That land is still with China. I don't know if they (China) have encroached on some area now again. But when I make an allegation, I should also see what had happened when I was there (in power). If such big land was encroached upon then, it cannot be ignored. It is a matter of national security and it should not be politicised is what I feel," he said.
Pawar further hit out at the Centre over the rising prices of fuel, saying he had never seen the rates going up daily.
He noted the people are already in trouble and the economy is in crisis due to the extended lockdown.
The Centre should take decisions that will bring the economy back on track, he said.
"The rise in fuel prices does have an impact on the economy. I think the Centre is taking this decision as there already is lockdown.
"People are not speaking up during this period. Due to some other reason, there already is a feeling among the people to tolerate what is going on (and) they (the Centre) are taking disadvantage of this situation (to raise prices)," he said.
Asked about BJP MLC Gopichand Padalkar's recent remark against him, the NCP chief said the legislator was rejected by voters in the elections previously and there is no need to take note of his remark.
Padalkar had said that "Pawar was a corona that has infected Maharashtra".
Pawar also made light of former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis' claim that the NCP had wanted to join hands with the BJP two years ago.
"Right now, he has a lot of time. Hence, he keeps something or the other for publicity," Pawar quipped.