New Delhi: Amid tense debates and contradictory comments from the government, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will on Thursday make a statement in the Rajya Sabha at 12 noon on the fourth day of Monsoon Session 2020 to address the ongoing border tensions with China in eastern Ladakh. Also Read - Parliament Adjourns Sine Die, Monsoon Session Cut Short by Eight Days Over Coronavirus Concerns
Following his statement, opposition leaders will get a chance to speak and Singh will give clarification if required, an official said. The Congress-led Opposition has been extremely critical of the government’s decision to cancel Question Hour, which is considered the “golden hour of Parliament”. Also Read - 'China Back Off': Fresh Protests Break Outside Embassy in Nepal Over Alleged Chinese Intrusion
The decision was taken following an informal all-party meeting earlier in the day attended by floor leaders of the Upper House, along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and Leader of the House Thawwarchand Gehlot. Also Read - Monsoon Session Updates: Congress Leader Ghulam Nabi Azad Meets President Kovind to Discuss Farm Bills
Earlier today, the Ministry of External Affairs said that India’s bilateral ties with China have not deteriorated recently, as in case of other neighbouring nations like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Myanmar.
Prior to that, the Home Ministry gave a shocking response to a written question in the Lok Sabha saying “no infiltration” has been reported along India’s de-facto border with China “during the last six months”.
The comments, contradictory to Defence Minister’s own statements and to the ground situation in Ladakh, utterly neglected the violent clash between India and China in Galwan Valley of Ladakh where at least 20 Indian soldiers were martyred on June 15.
Not only that, but reports of the Indian Army also claimed that Chinese troops again breached territory in August and allegedly opened fire in the air along the LAC at the south bank of Pangong Tso, while accusing the Indian Army of “serious military provocation”.
Notably, Rajnath Singh already made a statement in the Lok Saba on Tuesday and gave a staunch warning to China as he said that India’s armed forces are ready to deal with “all contingencies” in the high-altitude region.
Beijing has been very clearly conveyed that any attempt to “unilaterally” change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control is not at all acceptable, he told the Parliament, adding that China was in “illegal occupation” of about 38,000 sq km of Indian territory in Ladakh, besides laying claim on nearly 90,000 sq km of land in Arunachal Pradesh.
Detailing the meeting with his Chinese counterpart at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet in Russia, Singh had said he made it very clear that India wants to resolve the border situation in a peaceful manner, but will do what’s needed “to protect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
The government had initially said that a discussion on India-China border dispute may be put off the list from Parliament. However, given the ceaseless attack from the Congress and opposition parties on the issue, the Ladakh standoff became a prime subject for the Monsoon Session this year.
China and India have been on a war-footing for the last four months at multiple locations along the Line of Actual Control(LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
Reports claimed that China was laying a network of optical fibre cables along the disputed area on the south bank of Pangong Tso to secure “high-speed” communication with bases in the rear. Similar cables were also seen on the north of Pangong Lake about a month ago by fighter planes of the Indian Air Force while conducting regular rounds.