New Delhi: NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who had irked his Maharashtra ally Congress for siding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over tensions with China in Ladakh, on Tuesday once again sided with the Prime Minister, remarking that he had gone to Ladakh to motivate the soldiers, just like how then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then-Defence Minister YB Chavan did after defeat in the 1962 war. Also Read - 'Should've Asked PM to Speak': Maharashtra Minister Slams Sharad Pawar For Defending Centre Over Galwan Valley
Addressing media today, Pawar, himself a former Defence Minister, said, “In 1962 when we lost the war, then-PM Nehru and then-Defence Minister Yashwantrao Chavan went to Ladakh and motivated soldiers. Similarly, our present PM has done it”. Also Read - 'Galwan Valley Incident Can't be Immediately Labelled as Failure': Pawar Sides With Centre on Ladakh Standoff
“Whenever there’s such situation, country’s leadership must take steps to motivate the soldiers”, he added.
Notably, PM Modi had on Friday visited Leh, in what was an unannounced visit, to meet and motivate soldiers posted there amidst the ongoing standoff with China. However, the visit was branded by his critics as a ‘photo-op’, with many even alleging that a ‘fake’ hospital had been set up for the Prime Minister’s visit.
In its response, the Army had called these allegations ‘malicious and unsubstantiated‘, stressing that the hospital was indeed a genuine one.
Earlier, speaking on the June 15 clash in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, the NCP chief had said that the incident can’t be labelled as a failure of the Narendra Modi government as Indian soldiers were alert during patrolling. This was in response to former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that PM Modi had ‘surrendered’ Indian territory to the Chinese.
A total of 20 Indian soldiers, including a Colonel, were martyred in what was an ambush by the Chinese troops. However, the Indian troops also inflicted an unspecified number of casualties on the Chinese side.
Responding to Pawar’s defence of PM Modi, Maharashtra Congress leader and state minister Nitin Raut had said that instead of commenting on Rahul Gandhi’s remark, he should ask the Prime Minister to break his silence on the issue.