Congress chief Sonia Gandhi today said that the country "would like an assurance that status quo would be restored and China will revert back to the original position on Line of Actual Control" as she made her opening remarks this evening at the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "Even at this late stage, we are still in the dark about many crucial aspects of the crisis," the 73-year-old Congress leader was quoted as saying in an official statement as she raised several questions for the government.
Asserting that the all-party meeting "should have come sooner and immediately after the government had been reportedly informed about the Chinese intrusion on May 5 into several places in Ladakh," the Congress chief asked: "We have some specific questions, for the government: On which date did the Chinese troops intrude into our territory in Ladakh? When did the government find out about the Chinese transgressions into our territory? Was it on May 5, as reported, or earlier? Does the government not receive, on a regular basis, satellite pictures of the borders of our country?"
"Did the military intelligence not alert the government about the intrusion and the build-up of massive forces along the LAC, whether on the Chinese side or on the Indian side? In the government's considered view, was there a failure of intelligence?" Sonia Gandhi further asked.
The all-party meeting was held this evening via video conference to discuss the India-China clash at Ladakh on Monday in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Maharashtra counterpart Uddhav Thackeray are some of the leaders attending the meeting.
Seeking the government's response on the details of Ladakh face-off and the "way forward", Ms Gandhi stressed that "valuable time was lost between May 5 and June 6".
"We failed to use all avenues, and the result is the loss of 20 lives as well as dozens injured. I would urge the Prime Minister to kindly share with us all the facts and the sequence of events beginning April this year till date. We would also like to be briefed on the preparedness of our defence forces to meet any threat," she added.
"The question is, what next? What is the way forward? The entire country would like an assurance that status quo ante would be restored and China will revert back to the original position on Line of Actual Control," Sonia Gandhi said, assuring the Congress's support amid tensions at the border.