Congress MP Rahul Gandhi today criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the deaths of Indian soldiers in a violent face-off with the Chinese army at Galwan valley in Ladakh. Mr Gandhi asked PM Modi to speak up and questioned what he called was the Prime Minister's "silence" over the deadliest border incident between India and China in decades.
"Why is the PM silent? Why is he hiding? Enough is enough. We need to know what has happened. How dare China kill our soldiers? How dare they take our land?" Mr Gandhi tweeted.
Why is the PM silent?— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 17, 2020
Why is he hiding?
Enough is enough. We need to know what has happened.
How dare China kill our soldiers?
How dare they take our land?
Mr Gandhi later posted a video giving his condolences to the Indian soldiers who died in the line of duty. He asked PM Modi to "come out" and "tell the truth". "Two days ago India lost 20 soldiers, they have been snatched away from their families. China has grabbed our land and occupied our territory. Why are you silent Pradhan Mantri ji? Where are you hiding? You come out, the entire country is standing with you. We are all with you. Come out and tell the truth, don't be scared," Mr Gandhi said in the video.
देश के वीर शहीदों को मेरा सलाम।https://t.co/hikmIWBADa— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 17, 2020
Twenty soldiers laid down their lives for India at Galwan valley on Monday night after a clash arose from "an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo" on the border, the government has said. Forty-three Chinese soldiers have been killed or seriously injured, news agency ANI reported, though the army's statement did not refer to this.
The opposition has been pressing PM Modi to "take the nation into confidence" and demanding a "firm response" to the incident.
"Shocked to learn that 20 of our brave soldiers have been killed in Galwan valley of the western sector. As we salute their martyrdom, the PM must take the nation into confidence. The gravity of the situation calls for a firm & appropriate response," Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma tweeted on Tuesday.
In a bid to puncture the opposition's attack, BJP chief JP Nadda while addressing party workers in Kerala on Tuesday said the army has given a "befitting reply". "I can assure you that under the leadership of PM Modi, India's territorial integrity will not be compromised," Mr Nadda said.
The borders of India are & will remain intact under the prime-ministership of Shri @narendramodi. During the de-escalation process that was underway in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, a violent face-off took place with Chinese Army. Indian Army has given a befitting reply. pic.twitter.com/qPPx4tJqna— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) June 16, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and military chiefs twice as India discussed a response to the escalation on Tuesday.
India said the clash arose from "an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo" on the border. "India is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control. We expect the same of the Chinese side," said foreign ministry spokesperson Anurag Shrivastava.
Beijing, in an aggressive statement, accused India of crossing the border, "attacking Chinese personnel". China's Foreign Ministry was quoted by Reuters as saying India should not take unilateral actions or stir up trouble.