Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said on Tuesday that he was not surprised that Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Ladakh, and reminded that Jawaharlal Nehru had also visited the region after the 1962 war and so did then Defence Minister Yashwantrao Chavan.
Prime Minister Narendera Modi had on Friday landed at Leh to take stock of the situation amidst the prolonged standoff between the Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh.
Pawar recalled while talking to reporters that when he was the Defence Minister in 1993, he had gone to China and a treaty was signed, under which soldiers from both the sides were to be pulled back.No-weapon treaty was also signed.”
“During the all-party meeting with the PM, I had said the (present) issue needs to be solved through diplomatic channels and we need to create international pressure on China,” 79-year-old Pawar added.
“I read in newspapers that following dialogue through diplomatic channels, soldiers from both sides were pulled back. If it is so, then it is good,” he added.
To a question about PM Modi’s visit to Ladakh after the clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Galwan valley, he said that in 1962, China defeated India in war.
“But (then prime minister) Nehru had gone there. Even Yashwantrao Chavan, who was defence minister, too had gone to the China border and boosted the morale of the forces. When there is a conflict situation between two nations and forces are involved, the country’s leadership has to ensure that the morale of the forces is boosted. I am not surprised that he (PM Modi) went there,” Pawar said.
This was PM Modi’s first visit to Ladakh after the 15 June violent clashes between troops of the two countries. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army chief MM Naravane also accompanied the PM. Modi had also visited the military hospital where he met the soldiers who were injured during the faceoff with Chinese troops.
An unprecedented violent clash took place in Galwan valley on the night of June 15 at the Line of Actual Control with Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers attacking a small group of Indian Army men on patrol, resulting in fatalities which included the commanding officer of the Indian Army.
The intensity of the fight increased with reinforcements from both sides and it continued until late night till the time they got exhausted. Many Indian soldiers went missing during the fight.
Addressing the soldiers of the Army, IAF, ITBP and BRO at the 11,000 ft high Nimu, Modi in a veiled message to China asserted; “The era of expansionism is over, this is the age of development. History has witnessed that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back. It’s not the weak but the brave who can initiate peace”.