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New Delhi, June 23, 2020
Describing the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China as a "full-blown crisis", Congress President Sonia Gandhi today hoped that mature diplomacy and decisive leadership would inform the government’s actions in protecting the country's territorial integrity.
"We urge upon the government that peace, calm and the restoration of the status quo ante along the LAC be the only guiding principles in our national interest. We will continue to closely watch the situation," Gandhi said in her opening at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee here.
Gandhi began by referring to the circumstances under which the meeting was being held and said that it was said that "misfortunes do not come singly".
"India has been hit by a terrible economic crisis, a pandemic of huge proportions and, now, by a full-blown crisis on the borders with China. Much of each crisis is attributable to the mismanagement of the BJP-led NDA government and the wrong policies pursued by it. The cumulative effect is widespread misery, fear, and danger to the security and territorial integrity of the country," she said.
"We have discussed the economic crisis before. Since then, it has only become worse. The Modi government refuses to listen to good advice.
"The need of the hour is a massive fiscal stimulus, putting money directly in the hands of the poor, protecting and nurturing the MSMEs, and stimulating demand. Instead, the government announced a hollow financial package that had a fiscal component of less than 1 per cent of GDP.
"The government has added insult to injury by mercilessly raising petrol and diesel prices for 17 consecutive days, at a time when world prices of crude have fallen. The result is that a sliding economy is now hurtling toward a recession for the first time in 42 years. I am afraid there will be high unemployment, falling incomes and wages, and lower investment. Recovery is likely to take a long time, and that too only if the government corrects its course and adopts sound economic policies," she said.
Gandhi recalled that, after the pandemic hit India in February, the Congress had offered its total support to the government and supported Lockdown 1.0.
"Within weeks, it was apparent that the government was totally unprepared to manage the fallout of a lockdown. The result was the greatest humanitarian crisis witnessed since 1947-48. Millions of migrant (guest) workers, daily wage earners and self-employed were devastated. 130 million jobs are estimated to have been lost. Crores of MSMEs have been shut, perhaps forever. Despite the assurances of the Prime Minister who centralized all authority in his hands, the pandemic continues to rage.
"The grave deficiencies in the health infrastructure have been exposed. The promised ‘peak’ is nowhere in sight. The Centre has passed the buck to the state governments, but given them zero extra finances. Actually, the people have been left to protect themselves as best as possible. The mis-management of the pandemic will be recorded as one of the most disastrous failures of the Modi government. I wish to thank all our party’s workers who in different states went out at their own risk to offer help and support to the migrant and other affected people.
"Now, we have a full-blown crisis on the LAC with China. The undeniable fact is that since April-May, 2020 till date, Chinese troops have committed brazen transgressions into our territory in Pangong Tso Lake area and the Galwan Valley, Ladakh. True to its character, the government is in denial. The intrusion was detected and reported on May 5, 2020. Instead of a resolution, the situation deteriorated rapidly and there were violent clashes on June 15-16.
"Twenty Indian soldiers were martyred, 85 injured and 10 went ‘missing’ until they were returned.
"The Prime Minister was called out when he announced that 'no one had intruded into Indian territory in Ladakh'. On matters of national security and territorial integrity, the nation has always stood together and this time, too, there is no second opinion. The Congress Party was the first to offer its total support to the Armed Forces and the government," she said.
"However, there is a growing feeling among the people that the government has gravely mishandled the situation," she added.
Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi said China had brazenly occupied Indian territory.
He said the Prime Minister had destroyed India's position and betrayed its army by accepting China's position that it had not occupied any Indian land.
"The Chinese can’t be permitted to get away with this unacceptable usurpation of our land. Everything needs to be done to ensure that sacrifice of our martyrs is not in vain.
"One reason why China has acted is a complete and total failure of foreign policy. The established institutional structure of diplomacy has been demolished by the PM. Our relations with our once friendly neighbours lie in tatters. Our time tested relationship with our traditional allies has been interrupted. India should build a good relationship with the U.S. and others countries and must also maintain good relations with its old friends," he said.