Uproar in Parliament Over Rajnath Singh's Statement on India-China Border Clash

The defence minister said Indian Army prevented the Chinese from making a landgrab in Arunachal Pradesh and "compelled the Chinese troops to return to their posts".

New Delhi: Defence minister Rajnath Singh told parliament on Tuesday, December 13, that the Indian Army prevented the Chinese from making a landgrab in Arunachal Pradesh and “compelled the Chinese troops to return to their posts”.

He confirmed that there was indeed a face-off between Indian troops and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang on Friday, December 9. Since Monday, late evening on December 12, news outlets have begun reporting that there was a clash along LAC and that several Indian soldiers have sustained injuries.

The defence minister in his statement said, “The scuffle led to injuries to a few personnel on both sides. I wish to share with this House that there are no fatalities or serious casualties on our side.”

Singh said the Indian Army “bravely thwarted an attempt by the Chinese PLA to unilaterally change the status quo in the Yangtse area of Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang sector on December 9”. There were no fatalities or serious injuries to Indian troops in the scuffle, he reiterated.

The defence minister also said that Indian troops confronted the attempt in a “firm and resolute manner”, and Chinese personnel went back to their locations due to the timely intervention of Indian commanders.

He said the government had already spoken to China through diplomatic channels. “Our forces are ready to meet any challenge on the border,” he stressed.

In December 9 clash, reportedly several Indian soldiers sustained fractured limbs and are currently recuperating at a hospital in Guwahati. Around 600 Chinese troops were present when the clash took place.

This is the first clash between Indian troops and the People’s Liberation Army after June 15, 2020, Galwan Valley clash in Eastern Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed and several injured.

Opposition stages walkout

The Opposition, however, said they were not satisfied with Singh’s statement on the matter and sought clarifications. However, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh refused permission, resulting in an uproar in the House.

Harivansh said clarifications were not allowed on sensitive issues, citing precedents from the past.

After protests in the parliament, the Opposition MPs staged a walkout.

Opposition parties led by the Congress, which stalled proceedings in the first hour of the session and thereafter raised slogans demanding a discussion on the border clashes, wanted to seek a number of clarifications after Singh made a statement in both houses of Parliament.

Congress president and Lok Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge wanted the government to be “honest” about the Chinese incursions. “We are one with the nation on the issues of national security and would not like to politicise it. But the Modi government should be honest about the Chinese transgressions and the construction at all points near the LAC since April 2020,” NDTV quoted Kharge as saying.

Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that he is “scared” before the nation over the Chinese issue and accused him of “lying”.

Meanwhile, home minister Amit Shah accused the Congress of disrupting proceedings as a question on Rajiv Gandhi Foundation was listed for today. “The Congress unfortunately disrupted Question Hour even after being told that the Defence Minister (Rajnath Singh) will give a statement on the issue. I saw the Question Hour list and, after seeing question number 5, I understood the anxiety (of Congress). A Congress member had asked it. We had the answer ready. But they disrupted the House,” Amit Shah said, according to NDTV.

(With PTI inputs)