The all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the situation in India-China border areas saw most political parties backing government’s stand against China with Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking details of intrusion.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and former Defence Minister Sharad Pawar said that issues of whether soldiers carried arms or not are decided by international agreements and “we need to respect such sensitive matters”.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said India wants peace but it does not mean weakness and it is in China’s nature to betray. “We are all one. This is the feeling. We are with you, PM. We are with our forces and their families. India wants peace but that doesn’t mean we are weak. China’s nature is betrayal. India is ‘mazboot’ (strong) not ‘majboor’ (weak). Our government has the ability to ‘Aankhein Nikalkar Haath Me de dena’ (take out the eyes of the enemy),” he said.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said that all-party meeting was “a good message for the nation”. “It shows that we are united behind our jawans. TMC strongly in solidarity with the government,” she said. She said that the government should not allow Chinese firms to enter crucial sectors like telecommunications, railways and aviation.
“Don’t let China enter telecom, railway and aviation sectors. We will face some problems but we won’t allow the Chinese to enter. China is not a democracy. They are a dictatorship. They can do what they feel. We, on the other hand, have to work together. India will win, China will lose. Speak with unity. Think with unity. Work with unity. We are solidly with the government,” Banerjee said.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao said that clarity displayed by Prime Minister on Kashmir has angered China. “PM’s emphasis on Kashmir’s development has also angered China,” he said, adding that the call of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ has also rattled the neighbouring country.
Biju Janta Dal’s Pinaki Misra said the party stands with the government fully and unconditionally.
“China has repeated history. Once again in the cover of darkness in a cowardly move, they attacked our soldiers who went with a message of peace,” he said.
National People’s Party (NPP) leader and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma is learnt to have said that infrastructure work along the border should not stop. “China-sponsored activities in Myanmar and Bangladesh are worrying. Prime Minister has been working on building infrastructure in the northeast and it must go on.”
Congress Interim president , Sonia Gandhi targeted the government over its handling of “intrusions” by China in Eastern Ladakh, saying it lost time, “failed” to use all avenues which resulted in loss of lives of 20 soldiers in violent face-off in Galwan Valley and asked if there was an intelligence failure. She said the entire country would like an assurance that status quo ante would be restored and China will revert back to the original position on Line of Actual Control.
Gandhi said the opposition parties and people were still in the dark about many crucial aspects of the crisis. She posed specific questions and asked if the government did not receive, on a regular basis, satellite pictures of the borders of the country and if intelligence agencies had reported any unusual activity along the LAC. She asked when Chinese troops intruded into India’s territory in Ladakh and when did the government find out about the Chinese transgressions.
“In fact, even at this late stage, we are still in the dark about many crucial aspects of the crisis. We have some specific questions, for the Government: 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 May 5, as reported, or earlier? Does the government not receive, on a regular basis, satellite pictures of the borders of our country? 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?” she asked.
Sources said Janata Dal-United chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said there is nationwide anger against China. “There should be no differences among us. We are together. Parties should not show any disunity that can be exploited by other nations. China’s stand on India is known. India wanted to give respect to China. But what did China do in 1962?” he asked.
Kumar also said that goods from China flooding Indian markets have major problems. “They are plastic heavy and they are not eco-friendly and they harm the environment. Electronic waste associated with them is high. Chinese products don’t even last long. It is our duty to be one and support the Centre,” he said.
Sources said Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav said sought imposition of heavy duties on Chinese goods. He said the nation is one and the intention (neeyat) of Pakistan and China is not good. “India will not be China’s dumping ground. Impose 300 per cent duty on Chinese goods,” he said.
The sources said that Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader MK Stalin said the entire country is united in its spirit of patriotism and welcomed the recent statements by the Prime Minister concerning the border tensions.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja is learnt to have said India should resist US efforts to drag the country into their alliance.
The CPI-M said the government should initiate high-level talks so that steps are taken including clear demarcation of LAC to maintain peace and tranquillity on the border.
Sikkim Krantikari Morcha chief and Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang is leant to have told the meeting that the Prime Minister has taken landmark decisions concerning national security and they have full faith in him.
“We have full faith in the Prime Minister. In the past too, when it comes to national security, PM has taken landmark decisions.”
Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives in the violent face-off in Galwan Valley on June 15-16 as a result of an attempt by the Chinese troops to unilaterally change the status quo during the de-escalation in eastern Ladakh.
Indian intercepts have revealed that the Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured in the violent clash. In her remarks, Gandhi said valuable time was lost between May 5 and June 6, when the commanders of two countries met. She said efforts should have been even after the June 6 meeting to talk directly, at the political and diplomatic levels, to the leadership of China.
“We in the Congress Party believe that valuable time was lost between May 5 and June 6, the date on which the Corps Commanders meeting took place. Even after the June 6 meeting, efforts should have been made to talk directly, at the political and diplomatic levels, to the leadership of China. We failed to use all avenues, and the result is the loss of 20 lives as well as dozens injured,” she said.
Gandhi said that the all-party meeting should have been held immediately after the government had been reportedly informed about the Chinese intrusion on May 5 into several places in Ladakh and elsewhere.
“This meeting, in my view, should have come sooner and immediately after the government had been reportedly informed about the Chinese intrusion on May 5, 2020 into several places in Ladakh and elsewhere. As always, the entire nation would have stood together like a rock and fully supported the government of the day in the steps required to defend the territorial integrity of the country. Alas, that was not to be,” she said.
The Congress chief urged the Prime Minister to share with opposition leaders all the facts and the sequence of events beginning April this year till date.
“The question is, what next? What is the way forward? The entire country would like an assurance that status quo ante would be restored and China will revert back to the original position on Line of Actual Control,” she said.
The Congress president said the opposition parties should be briefed about the preparedness of defence forces to meet any threat and asked about the current status of Mountain Strike Corps with two mountain infantry divisions sanctioned in 2013.