Amid criticism from the Opposition following the military clash in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan valley with Chinese troops in which 20 Indian soldiers were martyred, Prime Minister Narendra Modi categorically stated in the all-party meeting on Friday that “no Indian post or territory has been occupied by anyone”.
At the outset, the Prime Minister clarified that neither is anyone inside our territory nor are any of our posts captured. He said that 20 of the country’s brave soldiers made the supreme sacrifice for the nation in Ladakh but also taught a lesson to those who had dared to look towards the motherland. The nation will forever remember their valour and sacrifice, government sources said.
In the virtual meeting attended by 20 political parties, PM Modi said the Indian armed forces are doing whatever is necessary to protect the country. He further assured that “we are capable and nobody can take even an inch of our land.”
He added that the Indian Army is is capable to move in any sector simultaneously and underscored that the whole nation stands united with the soldiers defending the borders and has full faith in their courage and bravery.
The assertion comes days after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asked Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to explain the India-China standoff at LAC and questioned if the Chinese troops have occupied the Indian territory in Ladakh.
The Prime Minister said the country today has such capability that no one can even dare look towards an inch of our land. He said that today, Indian forces are capable of moving together across sectors. While on the one hand, the Army has been given a free hand to take necessary steps, India has also conveyed its position clearly to China through diplomatic means.
PM Modi added that through the all-party meeting, he wants to assure the families of the martyrs that the entire country stands with them.
The PM also assured the leaders of the parties that “the armed forces are leaving no stone unturned to protect the country. Be it deployment, action or counter action, through land, sea or air, our forces are taking the necessary steps to protect the country.”
“Provision has also been made for fighter planes, modern helicopters, missile defence systems and other such needs of our forces. Through the recently developed infrastructure, patrolling capacity at LAC has also increased,” he said, adding that through this, we are better informed about the developments at LAC and consequently are able to monitor and respond better. The movements of the adversary which used to take place without any disruption earlier are now checked by our jawans, which at times leads to build up of tension.
Meanwhile, in a significant announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that his Government has given the armed forces full freedom to take any necessary action.
He stressed that “India wants peace and friendship, but the issue of its sovereignty is supreme”, noting that all participants in the meeting had expressed the same sentiments.
“While on one hand, we have allowed the defence forces to take whatever steps they may deem fit, on the other hand, we have also conveyed our resolve to China through diplomatic means. It is definite that whatever happened on the LAC has shocked and enraged the entire nation,” PM Modi said.
Meanwhile, at the all-party meet, Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi contended that “valuable time had been lost” and asked what the government doing next.
She also said that the all party meeting should have been convened earlier.
“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, she said, as per a party statement.
“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 the Line of Actual Control,” she added.
Gandhi claimed that the government failed to use all avenues, and the result is the loss of 20 lives as well as dozens injured. “I would urge the Prime Minister to kindly share with us all the facts and the sequence of events beginning April this year till date,” she said.
Sonia Gandhi further said that the Congress and the entire opposition unitedly stand by the defence forces and are prepared to make any sacrifice to ensure they are battle ready.
However, West Bengal Chief Minister and a strong critique of BJP government, Mamata Banerjee, took a different stand on the issue and said that the all-party meet was a good message for the nation and it shows that we are united behind our jawans.
Several other leaders also expressed their concerns over the situation along the LAC in Ladakh.
An unprecedented violent clash took place in Galwan Valley at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh 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.
As many as 20 Indian Armymen including officers were killed in the face-off.