New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday said neither is anyone inside the Indian territory nor any of our border posts captured, and that India will not cede an inch of Indian land.
Speaking during the all-party meeting convened to hold discussions with the opposition parties over India-China border tensions, the PM said: “Neither has anyone entered our territory nor is anyone in control of our border posts. Twenty of our soldiers were martyred, but they taught a lesson to those who dared to look Bharat Mata in the eye.”
The PM further said the entire country is hurt and angry at the steps taken by China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Modi also told the opposition leaders that our armed forces are leaving no stone unturned to protect the country, whether it is deployment, action or counter-action, through land, sea or air. “Our forces are taking the necessary steps to protect the country,” the PM said.
“While on the one hand, the Army has been given freedom to take necessary steps, India has also conveyed its position clearly to China through diplomatic means,” said the PM.
Modi said India wants peace and friendship, but upholding sovereignty is foremost.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also stressed on the fact there was no intelligence failure.
Congress raises questions
The government got the support of the opposition. Right from the BSP, TMC to Shiv Sena, CPI(M) and other opposition parties — all expressed solidarity with the government in the present situation.
BSP leader Mayawati said this is not the time for politics and said she firmly stands with PM Modi on “whatever decisions he takes”.
Congress, however, asked a few sharp questions. Party president Sonia Gandhi said the opposition is “still in the dark about many crucial aspects of the crisis” and, therefore, urged the Modi government to disclose the sequence of events in Galwan Valley.
The Congress president also listed out a series of questions for the government. She asked: ‘On which date did the Chinese troops intrude into our territory in Ladakh? When did the government find out about the Chinese transgressions into our territory? Was it on 5 May, as reported, or earlier? Does the government not receive, on a regular basis, satellite pictures of the borders of our country?’
The questions also include: ‘Did our external intelligence agencies not report any unusual activity along the LAC? Did the military intelligence not alert the government about the intrusion and the build-up of massive forces along the LAC, whether on the Chinese side or on the Indian side? In the government’s considered view, was there a failure of intelligence?’
Speaking to ThePrint, BJD leader Pinaki Mishra expressed solidarity with the government and said: “We stand with the government fully and unconditionally”.
He further said whatever decision the government will take, the BJD will support it, whether it is political, economic or military.
According to sources, when enquired by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on whether there was an intelligence failure, the defence minister ruled out any such thing.
In a statement issued by the Trinamool, Banerjee, in the meeting, recalled how China has violated agreements in 1962, 1967, 1975, 2015 and 2017.
“If they think they are very powerful and will behave like a big brother, India will not bow down in front of them or any other country. Railways, telecommunication, civil aviation are very important, we should not involve China in these sectors. We might face some problems but we will figure it out with what we have in our country,” she said.
Banerjee further said China is not a democracy, they are a dictatorship. “They can do what they feel. We are a democracy and have to work together. We want peaceful co-existence with all our neighbours, but we cannot ever compromise when our nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is violated,” she added.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the Modi government should initiate high-level talks so that steps are taken, including clear demarcation of the LAC to maintain peace and tranquillity on the border.
Supporting the stand taken by the Modi government, Yechury said: “In the talks between our Minister for External Affairs and the Foreign Minister of China, our official statement states that at the conclusion of the discussion, it was agreed that the overall situation would be handled in a responsible manner, and both sides would implement the disengagement understanding of 6 June sincerely.”
“Neither side would take any action to escalate matters and instead, ensure peace and tranquillity as per bilateral agreements and protocols,” he said.
“As the government of India has adopted this stand, the CPI(M) extends its support to this approach,” Yechury added.
‘Stop import of non-essential items from China’
Extending support to the NDA government, Lok Janshakti Party president Chirag Paswan urged the PM there is a need to stop import of non-essential items from China. “This will not only make India self-reliant, but will also deal a big economic blow to China,” Paswan told ThePrint.
“On one hand, where the majority of the countries globally hold China responsible for the pandemic, the incursion by its army in Ladakh only reflects the country’s bad intent,” Paswan added.
National People’s Party chief and Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma, while backing the government, said that infrastructure work along the border should not stop.
“China-sponsored activities in Myanmar and Bangladesh are worrying. The PM has been working on Northeast infrastructure and it must go on,” Sangma was quoted as saying by an opposition leader, who attended the meeting.
TRS chief and Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao said the PM’s clarity on Kashmir, his emphasis on Kashmir’s development and his call for ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ have angered China.
CPI leader D. Raja told ThePrint the status quo before April should be maintained at all costs and Chinese troops would have to pull back.
In his power-point presentation, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar talked about the history of Indo-China diplomacy, the various treaties and the protocol for border patrols.
He reiterated his stand the soldiers were armed, but according to the protocol in an earlier agreement, no firing is allowed within two kilometres of the LAC.
“A presentation was made by the external affairs minister with a complete detail regarding the chronology of the event and it pointed out how strengthening the infrastructure is required, including roads and bridges,” said a source.
He categorically said there was no intelligence or military failure. He also explained the protocol for exercises and the issues around building of infrastructure near the LAC.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.