Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday posed five questions for the Centre to answer on government’s position on the Indo-China border conflict over the past 6 weeks that peaked with a deadly clash in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley along the LAC on June 15, resulting in 20 casualties among Indian Army soldiers and an unverified number of deaths on the Chinese side .
Among other questions, Sibal alleged that the government was in denial of Chinese “intrusions” as “confirmed” by army generals and satellite imagery and sought to know the reason for the denials.
“Despite statements of experts, army generals & satellite imagery depicting Chinese intrusion into Pangong Tso Lake up to 8 kms, construction of 60 permanent structures & occupation up to Finger4, why is the Govt denying Chinese transgression?,” Sibal asked in of the five questions.
Sibal’s question alleging India was in denial of Chinese transgressions come a day after the government issued a clarification on the controversy and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion that “no one has entered our territory, no one is at present within our territory and no one has occupied our posts”, referred to the situation after Indian Army’s brave action to thwart Chinese attempts to erect a structure on the Indian side of the LAC on June 15. The government’s clarification was necessitated after some commentators in general and opposition leaders in particular claimed that PM’s above mentioned statement, given during the all party meet called on the issue, amounted to a “surrender” to China and was tantamount to “appeasement” of the communist country’s leadership.
Sibal said several security experts, retired army generals and veterans, along with satellite imagery have spoken about Chinese-designed incursions into our territories along the LAC. He also cited statements made by the defence and external affairs minister along with statements by the external affairs ministry on June 17 and 20, to say that government had itself referred to the Chinese incursions on multiple occasions between April-May 2020 till date in Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso Lake Area and Hot Springs. Sibal said that the government should not even appear to have ceded any part of these territories to the Chinese.
“Until the Chinese retreat and status quo ante is restored, our Government should not let up or appear to cede any part of these territories to the Chinese,” he said, before adding that China’s “brazen transgressions” into India’s territory cannot be accepted and India’s territorial integrity cannot be allowed to be compromised in any circumstances.
In one of his other four questions directed at the government and the prime minister, Sibal asked, “Isn’t the statement of the PM an affront to the valour & supreme sacrifice of Col B.Santosh Babu and 19 Jawans who sought to evict the Chinese from our territory in Galwan Valley? Does the Govt mean that their sacrifice was in vain?”
In his next question he wanted to know why China had now advanced its claim on the Galwan Valley after having never made a similar claim in the past.
“Is it not correct that China has never claimed Galwan Valley as its territory? Is it also not correct that China has now committed brazen transgressions into Galwan Valley,” Sibal asked
In his penultimate question, he wanted to know from PM Modi that if no one entered Indian territory, then how did India’s 20 soldiers die?
“Why did the PM tell the All-Party Meeting that “no one intruded into our territory”? Why did PMO delete these words from the official statement? And if ‘no one intruded into our territory’, how did our 20 soldiers die?” he asked.
The government’s clarification on the matter had answered some of these issues on Saturday and said that the PM statement was being misinterpreted and that it didn’t amount to a denial of Chinese incursions. It also referred to MEA’s statements over the past few days accusing China of attempting to change the status quo at the LAC as the primary cause for the violent clash between soldiers of the two sides.
Sibal’s last question wanted to know the reason for an alleged “contradiction” between PM Modi and external affairs ministry’s statement dated June 20.
Kapil Sibal also asked the prime minister why US president Donald Trump had not come out in India’s support despite the friendship the PM enjoys with the US president.