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India-China face-off: PMO issues clarification on controversy surrounding Modi's remarks

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 20, 2020 Published on June 20, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Says PM Modi was clear that India would respond to any attempt to transgress LAC

The comments by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the all-party meeting on Friday that no one has intruded into Indian territory has created a controversy, as Opposition slammed it. The Centre said attempts are being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation to Modi's remarks.

Opposition's attack

The controversy was started late on Friday after Opposition leaders started questioning the Prime Minister's remarks. On Friday, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury asked: "Then there is no conflict? Why have our brave soldiers been martyred? Why this all-party meeting?"

 

On Saturday, the Congress sharpened Opposition's attack. "PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression. If the land was Chinese: 1. Why were our soldiers killed? 2. Where were they killed?," former Congress president Rahul Gandhi asked in Twitter. 

Former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram held a press conference and said Modi's 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. If the PM's statement reflects the correct position, we would like to ask the government a few questions. If no Chinese troops had crossed the LAC and are in Indian territory, what was the ‘face-off’ on May 5-6, 2020?  Between May 5 and June 6, 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?," he asked. 

 

"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?," Chidambaram added.

'No unilateral change'

Later, the Centre issued a statement and 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 sq km 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," it said. 

The Centre added that 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," the statement added.

Yechury countered and said in Twitter: "Mr Modi should first make up his mind and then speak, unless his attempt was to mislead all the political parties and weaken our position in diplomatic talks." 

Published on June 20, 2020
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