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New Delhi, June 20, 2020
The Government today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's observations, at the all-party meeting on Friday, that there was no Chinese presence on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of the Indian armed forces and regretted that attempts were being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation to his remarks.
An official statement on the meeting, issued here today, said the Prime Minister was clear that India would respond firmly to any attempts to transgress the LAC.
"In fact, he specifically emphasized that in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges, Indian forces now decisively counter any violations of LAC ('unhe rokte hain, unhe tokte hain')," it said.
The statement said the APM was also informed that, this time, Chinese forces had come in much larger strength to the LAC and that the Indian response was commensurate.
"As regards transgression of LAC, it was clearly stated that the violence in Galwan on 15 June arose because Chinese side was seeking to erect structures just across the LAC and refused to desist from such actions.
"The focus of the PM’s remarks in the APM discussions were the events of 15 June at Galwan that led to the loss of lives of 20 Indian military personnel. Prime Minister paid glowing tributes to the valour and patriotism of our armed forces who repulsed the designs of the Chinese there. The Prime Minister’s observations that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces. The sacrifices of the soldiers of the 16 Bihar Regiment foiled the attempt of the Chinese side to erect structures and also cleared the attempted transgression at this point of the LAC on that day.
"The words of Prime Minister 'Those who tried to transgress our land were taught a befitting lesson by our brave sons of soil', succinctly summed up the ethos and the values of our armed forces. The Prime Minister further emphasised, 'I want to assure you, that our armed forces will leave no stone unturned to protect our borders'.
"What is Indian territory is clear from the map of India. This Government is strongly and resolutely committed to that. Insofar as there is some illegal occupation, the APM was briefed in great detail how, over the last 60 years, more than 43,000 sq.km has been yielded under circumstances with which this country is well aware. It was also made clear that this Government will not allow any unilateral change of the LAC.
"At a time when our brave soldiers are defending our borders, it is unfortunate that an unnecessary controversy is being created to lower their morale. However, the predominant sentiment at the All-Party Meeting was of unequivocal support to the Government and the armed forces at a time of national crisis. We are confident that the unity of the Indian people will not be undermined by motivated propaganda," the statement added.
At yesterday's all-party meeting, Modi was quoted as saying that no one was inside Indian territory and nor had any of its posts been captured.
The meeting, attended by leaders of all major political parties, both in the ruling alliance and the opposition, was convened through video conference by Modi to brief them about the violent faceoff between Indian soldiers and the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops in Galwan Valley of Eastern Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
Modi's remarks about there being no one inside Indian territory and that none of its posts had been captured have led to some controversy, with the opposition Congress asking what had then led to the violent faceoff in Galwan Valley on Monday night.
"It is quite obvious that the PM’s statement contradicts the earlier statements made by the Chief of Army Staff, the Defence Minister and the Foreign Minister," Congress leader P Chidambaram said in a statement today.
"If the PM’s statement reflects the correct position, we would like to ask the government a few questions. If no Chinese troops had crossed the LAC and are in Indian territory, what was the ‘face-off’ on May 5-6, 2020? Between May 5 and June 6, what was the issue on which local Indian commanders were talking to their Chinese counterparts? What was the subject matter of the negotiations between the Corps Commanders of the two countries on June 6?
"We would also like to ask, if no Chinese troops were inside Indian territory, where did the clashes take place on June 15-16? Where were 20 Indian soldiers killed and 85 injured? If no Chinese troops are in Indian territory, why did Foreign Minister Mr Jaishankar’s statement and other statements of MEA demand the 'restoration of status quo ante'? What was the meaning of 'status quo ante'? What was the meaning of the 'disengagement' that the government said was 'underway'? he asked.
"If no Chinese troops are inside Indian territory in Ladakh, why did 20 soldiers have to make the supreme sacrifice?
"Even after the PM’s statement yesterday, China has blamed India for the clashes and has re-asserted its claim to the entire Galwan Valley. What is the government’s answer to this claim? Will the Government of India reject this claim?
"When the PM said a few days ago that the ;sacrifice of our soldiers will not go in vain', what did he have in mind? Why and where did the soldiers sacrifice their lives, and how will the government ensure that the sacrifice will not be in vain?
"We ask these questions while reiterating our total support to the Government of India and India’s defence forces. The defence of the nation and its territorial integrity are dear to the heart of every Indian. We therefore seek answers to the questions with a view to re-double our commitment and present a picture of unity and solidarity," Chidambaram added.