Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that no outsider was inside Indian territory in Ladakh contradicts the earlier statements made by the Chief of Army Staff, the Defence Minister and the Foreign Minister and remarked that what the PM has said, seen in conjunction with China’s claim on Galwan valley, leads to “horrible conclusions”.
“These remarks have left practically everyone baffled and bewildered…It is quite obvious that the PM’s statement contradicts the earlier statements made by the Chief of Army Staff, the Defence Minister and the Foreign Minister,” Chidambaram said.
He said the statement has given rise to some questions, such as, if no Chinese troops had crossed the Line of Actual Control and are in Indian territory, what was the ‘face-off’ on May five-six, 2020; between May five and June six, what was the issue on which local Indian commanders were talking to their Chinese counterparts; what was the subject matter of the negotiations between the Corps Commanders of the two countries on June 6?
“We would also like to ask, if no Chinese troops were inside Indian territory, where did the clashes take place on June 15-16? Where were 20 Indian soldiers killed and 85 injured?,” he asked.
Chidambaram said that if no Chinese troops are in Indian territory, why did Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s statement and other statements of the Ministry of External Affairs demand the “restoration of status quo ante?” “What was the meaning of `status quo ante’? What was the meaning of the `disengagement’ that the government said was `underway’?, he asked.
“If no Chinese troops are inside Indian territory in Ladakh, why did 20 soldiers have to make the supreme sacrifice?,” he asked.
Pointing out that even after the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday, China has blamed India for the clashes and has re-asserted its claim to the entire Galwan Valley, Chidambaram asked what is the government’s answer to this claim and if it will reject it.
The senior Congress leader said the government should answer China’s claims today and not wait until tomorrow or day after or next week since the declaration by China, seen together with the Prime Minister’s statement of yesterday, leads to “horrible conclusions”.
“If it is a coincidence, it would be a horrible tragedy. But I sincerely hope it is not a coincidence. I think the Chinese claim is consistent with what they have been claiming in the last few weeks. It is the Indian position as stated by the Prime Minister that there is no Chinese in Indian territory has come as a total shock. He has to define what Indian territory is. Now that China has claimed the entire Galwan valley, does he accept the claim or reject it?” Chidambaram said, adding that if the government does not reject the claim today, it will have terrible consequences.
The senior leader rejected the idea that the Congress was isolated in yesterday’s all-party meeting in demanding answers from the government. He insisted that there was no contradiction between the stand taken by the Congress and the other opposition parties. “The Congress raised quesitons as the first speaker and as the principal opposition party.
Succeeding speakers did not did raise the same questions, which does not mean they disagreed or distanced themselves from our position,” he said.
On the issue of boycotting Chinese products, he said it would not hurt Chinese economy as India is a very small fraction of its trade. He further said that issues such as boycott should not be brought up when very serious matters like the defence of India and its territorial integrity are being discussed.
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