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'Unacceptable Silence': Congress Demands Answers on Ladakh From PM Modi, Rajnath Singh

The opposition party slammed the silence of those in charge and sought to highlight how in the last 50 years, "not a single casualty has occurred on Indo-China Border."

New Delhi: Soon after the Indian Army on Tuesday afternoon said that three soldiers were killed by the Chinese troops at the Galwan river valley, the Congress demanded that the prime minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Rajnath Singh offer more information on crucial questions pertaining to the development.

Saying that there could not be any compromise with India’s “security and territorial integrity”, the party said that reports of Chinese transgressions in Galwan river valley, the hot springs, and Pangong Tso lake area in Ladakh have “shocked the entire nation as an audacious attempt on our ‘territorial integrity’.”

Also read: ‘Violent Face-Off’ in Ladakh, 3 Indian Soldiers Killed, Reports of Chinese Casualties Too

“In the last five decades, not a single casualty or martyrdom of our soldiers has occurred or happened on Indo-China Border i.e. ‘Line of Actual Control’,” the party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement. He also asked whether reports claiming that there could be more casualties are true.

He attacked the prime minister and defence minister’s silence on the issue, and said they were refusing to answer questions. Surjewala also said that the Indian public had been led to believe by the Union government that a “de-escalation process” was underway in the Galwan valley, but the killing of three soldiers indicated the opposite.    

“Will the prime minister and Raksha Mantri take the nation into confidence as to how could our officer and soldiers can be killed as the Chinese were reportedly withdrawing from our territory in the Galwan Valley? How and under what circumstances were our officer and soldiers martyred?” the Congress asked. 

The party also demanded that the Union government come clear on how it proposes to “meet the challenging situation which has serious ramifications for India’s ‘national security and territorial integrity”. 

It said that the entire country stands as one to protect India’s security interests but the Modi government should remember that in a parliamentary democracy, “secrecy or silence” is unacceptable. 

Also watch | Why Modi and Not Military Commanders Should Be Talking to China

Earlier, senior Congress leader and former external affairs minister Salman Khurshid told The Wire that he felt that China was adopting provocative tactics against India as it probably fears that India may side with the efforts of western powers like the United States of America to sideline China in the times of the coronavirus pandemic. He said this was a result of the Union government ignoring the diplomatic principles of non-alignment that India has historically maintained.

He suggested that to tackle this a further escalation of the situation, India should open independent channels of bilateral talks with China and attempt to convince it that both China and India are crucial to Asia’s power in the global economy. 

He proposed that the prime minister directly call up the Chinese premier with whom he is supposed to have a good relationship, and not let the military commanders do the talking. He said that the prime minister should remember that the military commanders know the ground situation but to beat such aggression by the Chinese, only the prime minister’s own intervention will help.