Press Trust of india

Govt must take parties, country into confidence over situation on border with China: Cong

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New Delhi:  The Congress on Monday asked the government to take all political parties and the country into confidence over restoration of the status quo ante on the border with China.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said there can be no compromise on India’s security and territorial integrity and posed a set of questions to the government on the situation at the border in Ladakh.

He also questioned the “silence” of the government on what he described as the “brazen Chinese transgression” into Indian territory.

Troops of India and China were engaged in a major standoff for over three weeks in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh, in what is turning out to be the biggest confrontation between the two countries after the Doklam episode in 2017.

The government has been maintaining that talks at military and diplomatic levels are on to resolve the row. Military officials have asserted that Indian troops are also resorting to aggressive posturing in eastern Ladakh and equally building up its presence in the sensitive region.

Addressing a virtual press conference, Surjewala said, “While the government has briefly commented upon resolving the crisis diplomatically, the Modi government must take all political parties and the country into confidence on restoring the status quo ante and protecting India’s territorial integrity.”

He said media reports reflect that Chinese forces have made serious transgressions into Indian territory at two points — Galwan River Valley and Pangong Tso area in Ladakh and in Sikkim.

The reports of Chinese army moving its troops in Galwan valley and Pangong Tso area (Ladakh) are “shocking and audacious attempt on our territorial integrity”, he said.

“If these reports are true, the Modi Government must answer whether the Chinese troops have occupied Indian Territory in the Galwan River Valley, Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh,” he asked.

Surjewala also asked whether they have crossed into Indian territory even beyond China’s own “claim line”, pitched tents, constructed concrete structures and built roads along the LAC in Galwan River valley as also on the north bank of the Pangong lake.

Posing a set of questions, the Congress leader asked, “Is it correct that Chinese troops have occupied the ‘Finger Heights’ near Pangong Tso? Do the Chinese transgressions into Galwan River Valley threaten the operation of ‘Darbuk-Shyok-DBO Road’ vital to servicing Indian troops in Sub-Sector North and Karakoram pass?”

Surjewala asked what steps have the Modi Government taken to resolve this all important issue of national security and territorial integrity, including strategic preparations.

“Why has the Modi Government not taken the nation into confidence vis-à-vis the actual position on the ground,” he asked.

To a question on whether the Chinese troops have entered and taken over our territory, Surjewala said reports in national and international media appear to suggest that there are serious transgression that have been made by the Chinese into the Indian territory.

“There have been reports of some confrontations between our soldiers and the Chinese soldiers also. Even the government and the Defence Minister have recognized it. What is the extent thereof? What is the extent of construction on our territory? Have they pitched tents and constructed roads and created concrete structures? What are its national security and territorial integrity ramifications,” he asked.

“So it is time that the Government, the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister took the nation into confidence as also the political parties into confidence. This is not a matter of blame game, this is a matter of ensuring total protection of national security and India’s territorial integrity, there can be no compromise there up on,” the Congress leader said.

The Congress leader also expressed concern over issues raised by Nepal and hoped the government would find a lasting solution to it.

“The border dispute with Nepal, which has been a friendly country with India, is an issue of worry. We hope India will find a lasting solution to it,” he said, adding that the Congress has taken note of it and is studying the issue.

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