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PM Modi must be ‘mindful of implications of his words and declarations’: Manmohan Singh on Ladakh clash

This comes after PM Modi at an all-party meeting on Friday categorically stated that ‘no Indian post or territory has been occupied by anyone’.

SNS | New Delhi |

Senior Congress leader Dr Manmohan Singh on Monday, in a statement on the Ladakh clash that killed 20 soldiers, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must be “mindful of the implications of his words and declarations” on nation’s security as also strategic and territorial interests.

This comes after PM Modi at an all-party meeting on Friday categorically stated 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 further assured that “we are capable and nobody can take even an inch of our land.”

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.

However, the Congress took on the PM over his remarks of “no intrusion” demanding an explanation from him.

Further, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, in his firm advice to PM Modi, said, “We cannot and will not be cowed down by threats and intimidation nor permit a compromise with our territorial integrity. The Prime Minister cannot allow them (China) to use his words as a vindication of their position and must ensure that all organs of the Government work together to tackle this crisis and prevent it from escalating further”.

He added that “this is a moment where we must stand together as a nation and be united in our response to this brazen threat”.

Dr Manmohan Singh further reminded the Government that disinformation is “no substitute” for diplomacy or leadership and added that the truth cannot be suppressed by having plaint allies spout comforting but fase statements.

At the beginning of the statement, Singh said the Government’s decisions and actions will have “serious bearings on how the future generations perceive us” and added that in a democracy, the responsibility rests with the office of the Prime Minister.

Concluding his statement, the Congress leader called upon PM Modi and the Central government to rise to the occasion and ensure justice for Col. B Santhosh and the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend India’s territorial integrity.

“To do any less would be a historic betrayal of the people’s faith,” he said.

The Congress had on Sunday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the statement he made at the all-party meeting and then on the PMO’s clarification on the statement.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, in a press conference, asked: “Has not the PM in a way endorsed the Chinese position that they never intruded into our territories? PM must explain.”

The Congress alleged that the Prime Minister has contradicted his own ministers. “It is clear that Prime Minister’s statement of June 19, 2020 is in contradiction of the statements made by the Defence Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister and Army Chief,” Sibal said.

“Until the Chinese retreat and status quo is restored, our Government should not let up or appear to cede any part of these territories to the Chinese,” he further said.

The Congress asked, despite the statement of security experts, army generals and satellite imagery depicting Chinese intrusion into Pangong Tso Lake up to nearly eight km, construction of over 60 permanent structures, including bunkers and boat pads and occupation up to Finger 4, why is the government denying the brazen Chinese transgression?

The Congress leader raised the issue of the PM’s statement in the all-party meeting that “no one intruded into our territory” and asked “Why did PMO delete these words from the official statement?

“And if no one intruded into our territory, how did our 20 soldiers die? How were 85 jawans seriously injured and how were 10 officers and jawans captured by the Chinese? Why does the statement of the External Affairs Ministry dated June 20, 2020, contradict the PM’s statement on incursions by the Chinese?”

The party asked why the Prime Minister was denying his own Defence Minister and External Affairs Minister’s statements that Chinese have sought to “erect structure in the Galwan Valley on our side?

“Why is PM refuting the statement of Raksha Mantri on ‘Chinese presence in large numbers’ and EAM’s statement that we seek to restore ‘status quo ante’? Didn’t the Army Chief clearly state that ‘disengagement’ is underway? If ‘no one has intruded into our territory’ and ‘no one is occupying our territory’, what was being erected by China or what status quo ante or disengagement were we seeking?”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also targeted PM Modi over the recent India-China face-off saying satellite images show that China has intruded into Indian territory.

He had also mocked the PM by calling him “Sur(r)ender Modi” instead of Narendra Modi and accused him of conceding Indian territory to the Chinese.

Following criticism, the PMO had clarified on Saturday and countered opposition’s attack, saying “attempts are being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation” to Modi’s remarks at the all-party meeting held on Friday on the Galwan stand-off.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said, the PM specifically emphasized Indian forces now decisively counter any violations on LAC (unhe rokte hain, unhe tokte hain) in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges.

An unprecedented violent clash took place in Galwan Valley at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh on June 15 with the 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.