Opposition asks Modi government explain actual situation on Ladakh border

Congress, Left parties ask how Centre proposes to meet the challenge.

Opposition parties on Tuesday asked the Narendra Modi government to tell the nation what the “actual situation” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was, and how it proposed to meet the challenging situation after Indian soldiers were killed on Tuesday in a violent face-off with Chinese troops on the Ladakh border.

Describing the incident as “deeply shocking, horrifying and unacceptable”, the Congress questioned the government’s silence on it.

The Left parties said the government must explain what had happened on the border even as it advocated talks and de-escalation of the conflict.

“The nation is waiting for an official statement from the Ministry of Defence or Army HQ. Will it come tonight? The PM has maintained a worrying silence since May 5. Can you imagine any other Head of Government not saying a word for 7 weeks since the intrusion of foreign troops into a country?” asked former Union minister P. Chidambaram in a series of tweets.

China slammed

Slamming China for border violations, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said Indian soldiers and officers cannot be killed for defending the borders.

“It is time now for the Govt of India to take some stringent measures. Each sign of weakness on our part makes the Chinese reaction more belligerent,” he said on Twitter while expressing his condolences.

“Words cannot describe the pain I feel for the officers and men who sacrificed their lives for our country. My condolences to all their loved ones. We stand with you in this difficult time,” former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted.

‘Break silence’

In a statement, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh should break their silence on the issue. “In the last five decades, not a single casualty or martyrdom of our soldiers has occurred or happened on Indo-China Border, that is the LAC…Will the PM and Raksha Mantri take the Nation into confidence as to how could our officer and soldiers be killed as the Chinese were reportedly withdrawing from our territory in the Galwan Valley?” Mr. Surjewala asked.

“Will the Prime Minister tell the Nation as to how the government proposes to meet this challenging situation which has serious ramifications for India’s ‘National Security and Territorial Integrity’?” Mr. Surjewala added.null

Former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah wondered that if such deaths took place during a de-escalation process, how escalated the situation must be in the first place. “This is what happens when the media propagates the government line that asking questions is anti-national,” Mr. Abdullah tweeted.

‘Talks imperative’

“The Government of India should come out with an authoritative statement as to what actually happened. It is imperative that both the Governments immediately initiate high level talks to defuse the situation and advance the process of disengagement on the basis of the agreed understanding on maintaining peace and tranquility on the border,” the Communist Party of India-Marxist Politburo said in a statement.

Communist Party of India general secretary D. Raja said any military confrontation between the two major Asian countries not only impacted the cooperation and friendship between the two countries but could also jeopardise peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. “We feel that both the sides have to intensify their efforts keeping in mind their core interest in achieving a mutually acceptable solution to the India-China boundary question as soon as possible,” Mr. Raja said.null

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Twitter said that his father and former defence minister Mulayam Singh Yadav had on many occasions warned the government of the “dangers and challenges from the Chinese side but it was met with indifference”. “When will the government respond to this [Ladakh incident]?” Mr. Yadav asked.

Border tension more serious than in the past, say former Generals

Bahujan Samaj Party MP Kunwar Danish Ali tweeted: “Shocked and anguished over killing of our brave officer and 2 soldiers in Galwan Valley. There are more disturbing reports emerging about the clash at LAC even as Govt talks of de-escalation. Govt. should come clean on LAC situation and act swiftly to defend borders.”