A visual of the all party meeting with prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
A visual of the all party meeting with prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.

Sonia Gandhi says government lost time ahead of Galwan clash, seeks assurance about China reverting to original position on LAC

ANI | Updated: Jun 19, 2020 20:03 IST


New Delhi [India], June 19 (ANI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday targeted the government over its handling of "intrusions" by China in Eastern Ladakh, saying it lost time, "failed" to use all avenues which resulted in the loss of lives of 20 soldiers in the violent face-off in Galwan Valley and asked if there was an intelligence failure.
Taking part in the virtual all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation in the India-China border areas, she said 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.
Gandhi said the opposition parties and people were still in the dark about many crucial aspects of the crisis.
She posed specific questions and asked if the government did not receive, on a regular basis, satellite pictures of the borders of the country and if intelligence agencies had reported any unusual activity along the LAC.
She asked when Chinese troops intruded into India's territory in Ladakh and when did the government find out about the Chinese transgressions.
"In fact, even at this late stage, we are still in the dark about many crucial aspects of the crisis. 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 our external intelligence agencies not report any unusual activity along the LAC? 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?," she asked.
Gandhi said valuable time was lost between May 5 and June 6, when the commanders of the two countries met.
She said efforts should have been even after the June 6 meeting to talk directly, at the political and diplomatic levels, to the leadership of China.
"We in the Congress Party believe that valuable time was lost between May 5 and June 6, the date on which the Corps Commanders meeting took place. Even after the June 6 meeting, efforts should have been made to talk directly, at the political and diplomatic levels, to the leadership of China. We failed to use all avenues, and the result is the loss of 20 lives as well as dozens injured," she said.
The Congress chief urged the Prime Minister to share with opposition leaders all the facts and the sequence of events beginning April this year till date.
"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," she said.
Gandhi said that the all-party meeting should have been held immediately after the government had been reportedly informed about the Chinese intrusion on May 5 into several places in Ladakh and elsewhere.
"This meeting, in my view, should have come sooner and immediately after the government had been reportedly informed about the Chinese intrusion on May 5, 2020 into several places in Ladakh and elsewhere. As always, the entire nation would have stood together like a rock and fully supported the government of the day in the steps required to defend the territorial integrity of the country. Alas, that was not to be," she said.
The Congress leader said the opposition parties should be briefed about the preparedness of defence forces to meet any threat and asked about the current status of Mountain Strike Corps with two mountain infantry divisions sanctioned in 2013.
"We would also like to be briefed on the preparedness of our defence forces to meet any threat. In particular, I would like to ask what is the current status of the Mountain Strike Corps, with two mountain infantry divisions, that was sanctioned in 2013? Should the Government not treat it with utmost priority?" she asked.
Gandhi began her remarks by paying tributes to soldiers who laid down their lives in the violent clash in Ladakh's Galwan Valley on June 15-16 night.
"We meet today in the aftermath of tragic conflict and our hearts are filled with great sorrow & anguish. Let me begin by paying homage to the brave soldiers of our Army, who laid down their lives as also convey my deepest condolences to the bereaved families. To the injured jawans, we wish them a speedy recovery and good health," she said.
Gandhi said the Indian National Congress and the entire opposition unitedly stands by the defence forces and are prepared to make any sacrifice to ensure they are battle-ready.
"The entire nation expects that government will take all opposition parties and the country into confidence and brief us regularly so that we may present to the world a picture of unity and solidarity," she said.
Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives in the face-off which happened as a result of an attempt by the Chinese troops to unilaterally change the status quo during the de-escalation in eastern Ladakh.
Indian intercepts have revealed that the Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured in the violent clash. (ANI)

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