- Centre's postscript on PM's comments came amid attacks by opposition
- PM Modi held an all-party meet yesterday on Ladakh face-off
- Opposition alleged PM didn't explain what changing status quo meant
The government today said "attempts are being made to give a mischievous interpretation" to comments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an all-party meeting yesterday on the violent face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh earlier this week.
"As regards transgression of LAC (Line of Actual Control), it was clearly stated that the violence in Galwan on 15 June arose because Chinese side was seeking to erect structures just across the LAC and refused to desist from such actions," the government said in a statement today.
The centre's postscript on the comments by PM Modi came amid attacks by the opposition that the government hasn't fully explained the situation along the LAC that eventually led to the violent face-off, leading to 20 soldiers laying down their lives for India.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi tweeted this morning, "PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression. If the land was Chinese: 1. Why were our soldiers killed? 2. Where were they killed?"
A day after the incident at Galwan Valley, the Foreign Ministry had said the violent face-off happened as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to "unilaterally change the status quo there".
The opposition has alleged PM Modi has not fully explained what changing status quo meant if Chinese troops had not crossed into Indian territory. "If no Chinese troops had crossed the LAC into Indian territory, why did Foreign Minister Jaishankar's statement refer to restoration of status quo ante?" Congress leader P Chidambaram tweeted this morning.
In today's statement, the government said the "Prime Minister's observations that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces".
"The sacrifices of the soldiers of the 16 Bihar Regiment foiled the attempt of the Chinese side to erect structures and also cleared the attempted transgression at this point of the LAC on that day," the government said.
"What is Indian territory is clear from the map of India. This Government is strongly and resolutely committed to that. Insofar as there is some illegal occupation, the APM (all-party meeting) was briefed in great detail how over the last 60 years, more than 43,000 sqkm has been yielded under circumstances with which this country is well aware. It was also made clear that this Government will not allow any unilateral change of the LAC," the government said today.
"At a time when our brave soldiers are defending our borders, it is unfortunate that an unnecessary controversy is being created to lower their morale. However, the predominant sentiment at the All Party Meeting was of unequivocal support to the Government and the armed forces at a time of national crisis. We are confident that the unity of the Indian people will not be undermined by motivated propaganda," it said in the statement.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the PMO's statement "belittles the gravity of the situation". He also urged PM Modi to follow "Raj Dharma" and rise to protect India's national security and territorial integrity.
"Is Galwan Valley not part of Indian territory? Why is Government not coming forward and strongly rebutting the Chinese claim over Galwan Valley? If Chinese troops are present there, does it not amount to intrusion into and occupation of Indian territory? Also, why is the Government silent on intrusions in the Pangong Tso area," he said in a statement.