New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday termed the death of an Indian Army officer and two soldiers in a violent face-off with Chinese troops as “deeply shocking, horrifying and unacceptable” and demanded answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on how this happened.
Asking the prime minister and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to confirm the incident, the party also demanded that the government take the nation into confidence and convene a meeting to brief the leadership of political parties about the ground situation.
It alleged that the prime minister and the defence minister have repeatedly maintained an intriguing silence on the occupation of Indian territory by the Chinese and have refused to answer any questions in public domain.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said there can be no compromise with India’s security and territorial integrity even as it accused the government of being “silent” on the Chinese aggressions in Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso Lake Area (Ladakh).
“Will the PM and Raksha Mantri take the nation into confidence as to how could our officer and soldiers be killed as the Chinese were reportedly withdrawing from our territory in the Galwan Valley? How and under what circumstances were our officer and soldiers martyred,” he asked in a statement.
“If true, the reports of killing of our brave officer and soldiers by the Chinese are, indeed, deeply shocking, horrifying and unacceptable,” Surjewala said.
“Words cannot describe the pain I feel for the officers and men who sacrificed their lives for our country. My condolences to all their loved ones. We stand with you in this difficult time,” party leader Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also tweeted, “We owe an immeasurable debt to the soldiers and officers who have been martyred for our country. We owe them our deepest gratitude and we owe their families our unflinching support through their pain. May God give them strength and courage.”
Senior spokesperson and party’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said this is a matter of serious national concern as it has grave implications for national security.
“As we have been requesting, the government should urgently take the nation into confidence. We demand that the government immediately convene a meeting and brief the leadership of political parties about the ground situation,” he said.
Sharma, a former union minister, alleged that there has been no transparency on the part of the government on the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops.
He said the inviolability of the LAC and India’s territorial integrity is non-negotiable.
Surjewala said to the distress and dismay of the entire nation, the prime minister and the defence minister remain absolutely “mum”.
“Prime Minister and Raksha Mantri must come forward and answer if it is true that Chinese have killed an officer and soldiers of Indian Army in the Galwan Valley? Is it true that Indian soldiers have also been critically injured? If so, why are PM Modi and the Defence Minister maintaining absolute silence,” he asked.
The Congress leader also asked the prime minister and defence minister to tell the nation as to “how much of our territory has been illegally occupied by the Chinese, post April/May, 2020, and what are the circumstances that have led to killing of our brave officer and soldiers by the Chinese, instead of the Chinese being forced to retreat to their original position on ‘Line of Actual Control'”.
“Will the Prime Minister tell the nation as to how the government proposes to meet this challenging situation which has serious ramifications for India’s national security and territorial integrity,” Surjewala asked.
He said the Congress party remains firm that the entire country stands as one to protect India’s national security and our territorial integrity at all costs.
“Let the Modi government remember that in our parliamentary democracy, ‘secrecy or silence’ are unacceptable on part of our government,” he said.
Former union minister Ashwani Kumar said the Chinese act of aggression in Ladakh is a hostile act against the territorial integrity of India and falsifies China’s pretended desire to settle outstanding boundary issues through negotiations within the framework of bilateral understandings.
“The scale of hostilities challenges India’s patience and resolve. The martyrdom of our soldiers cannot be without its cost. It is in the interest of reginal piece that China vacates aggression,” Kumar said.
The Army said India lost an officer and two soldiers during the violent face-off in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on Monday night, while there were casualties on the Chinese side as well.
The extent of casualties on the Chinese side was, however, not immediately clear.
A large number of Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation in Galwan Valley for the last five weeks.