The all-party meet conducted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, 19 June to discuss developments at the LAC and prevailing India-China tensions saw the Opposition asking tough questions, but at the same time, pledging support to the government on matters of national security.
The meeting that was attended by at least 20 parties had Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi taking on the Modi government and alleging that the meet should have been held much earlier as the Opposition is still in the dark.
“All party meeting should have happened much earlier. Even at this late stage we are in the dark. Congress has specific questions...” Gandhi said, as quoted by ANI sources.
“What date did Chinese troops intrude? When did the government find out about the transgressions? Does government not get satellite pics? Did intelligence not report about unusual activity?” Gandhi reportedly asked.
“Nation needs assurance that status quo ante is restored. What is the current status of mountain strike corps? Opposition parties should be briefed regularly,” she added.
Former defence minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that issues of whether soldiers carried arms or not are decided by international agreements and we need to respect such sensitive matters.
TMC, JD(U) Demand Tough Responses to Chinese Investments, Trade in India
TMC supremo and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee urged for unity among parties and suggested blocking China out of India’s infrastructure and telecom sectors.
“All-party meeting is a good message for the nation. Shows that we are united behind our Jawans. TMC is strongly in solidarity with the government,” she said, as quoted by ANI sources.
“Don’t let China enter telecom, railway and aviation sectors. We will face some problems but we won’t allow the Chinese to enter,” she added.
— ANI (@ANI) June 19, 2020
“China is not a democracy. They are a dictatorship. They can do what they feel. We, on the other hand, have to work together. India will win, China will lose. Speak with unity. Think with unity. Work with unity. We are solidly with the government,” she reportedly said.
Mamata’s call for a dent on Chinese trade and investments in India was also echoed by several other leaders including Janata Dal United supremo and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.
“There is nationwide anger against China. There should be no differences among us. We are together,” he said, as quoted by ANI sources.
“Parties should not show any disunity that can be explored by other nations. China’s stand on India is known. India wanted to give respect to China. But what did China do in 1962,” he reportedly said.
“Goods from China flooding Indian markets have major problems. They’re plastic heavy, aren’t eco-friendly and they harm environment. Electronic waste associated with them is high. Chinese products don’t even last long. It ‘s our duty to be one and support the Centre,” Kumar reportedly said.
Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav said that the neeyat (intent) of Pakistan and China is not good and India must impose a 300% duty on Chinese goods.
Akali Dal's Sukhbir Singh Badal said that this is not the right time to question the handling of the situation and China needs to be given the message that we (parties) are with the PM.
Shiv Sena, BJD Demand Befitting Reply to China
BJD’s Pinaki Misra said that China has repeated history and once again in the cover of darkness and in a cowardly move, they attacked Indian soldiers who went with a message of peace.
“The government will have to give a befitting reply, strong action will have to be initiated (against China). Whatever that action may be, the BJD will fully support the Government,” Misra said, as quoted by ANI sources.
“Shri Naveen Patnaik ji's appeal to all parties is not to indulge in a blame game at this point. We must be in lockstep with the Government, the entire country needs to talk in one voice,” he added.
Shiv Sena Chief and Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray said that China must be given a message that India is ‘mazboot’ and not ‘majboor.’
“India wants peace but that doesn’t mean we are weak. China’s nature is betrayal. India is ‘Mazboot’ not ‘Majboor’. Our government has the ability to - ‘Aankhien Nikalkar Haath Me de dena’,” Thackeray said.
“We are all one. This is the feeling. We are with you, PM. We are with our forces and their families,” Thackeray added.
NPP's Conrad Sangma said that infrastructural work at the borders must not stop.
“Infrastructure work along the border should not stop. China-sponsored activities in Myanmar and Bangladesh is worrying. PM has been working on North East infra and it must go on,” he said, as quoted by ANI sources.
Southern Parties Pledge Unity, Communist Parties Talk Int’l Politics
DMK's MK Stalin, as quoted by ANI, said “We are united when it comes to patriotism.” He also welcomed the recent statements by the PM on China issue.
TRS Chief and Telangana CM KCR said that PM's clarity on Kashmir has angered China. He stressed that PM's call of Atmanirbhar Bharat has rattled China, as quoted by ANI.
YSRCP’s Jagan Mohan Reddy said that thanks to the PM, India’s reputation has risen globally.
“He has built key strategic partnerships across the world. You are our strength, Prime Minister. India has gained envy of many. They (China) are trying to destabilise India,” he reportedly said.
CPI's D Raja, as quoted by ANI sources, said “we need to resist US efforts to drag us into their alliance.” CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury stressed on the principles of Panchsheel.
As the meeting began, PM Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and leaders of different political parties who were present paid tribute to soldiers who lost their lives in the Galwan Valley clash.
Several Parties Irked at Not Being Invited
While a large number of Opposition political leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee were in attendance, prominent parties like Aam Aadmi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and AIMIM expressed their confusion over being excluded.
“Rashtriya Janata Dal is the largest party in Bihar and it has 5 MPs in the Parliament but we have not been invited to today's all-party meeting on India China FaceOff. We want Rajnath Singh ji to clarify as to why RJD hasn't been invited,” ANI quoted Bihar Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav as saying.
Following RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav’s tweet late on Thursday night, questioning why his party was excluded from the meet and wanting to know the criteria behind the invite, sources in the government told ANI that “all recognised national parties, those with over 5 MPs in the Lok Sabha, leading parties from the Northeast, and parties with Union Cabinet ministers” had been invited.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reportedly called on party presidents on Thursday evening to extend an invite.
AAP’s Sanjay Singh also took to Twitter to share his disappointment.
“PM Narendra Modi has called for an important all-party meeting about the border tensions with China. However, I am extremely upset that one of India’s most loved politicians. whom Delhi voted to power three times, does his input on this matter not matter? Does he not consider him a prominent leader? (sic)” he asked in a video message.
भारत-चीन सीमा विवाद पर प्रधानमंत्री जी के द्वारा बुलायी गयी बैठक में तीन बार के चुने हुए मुख्यमंत्री व @AamAadmiParty के राष्ट्रीय संयोजक @ArvindKejriwal को न शामिल किया जाना भेदभाव पूर्ण फ़ैसला है । pic.twitter.com/6TH1ptPdx2
— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) June 19, 2020
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MP Asaduddin Owaisi wrote to PM Modi stating, “it is disappointing that my party was not invited to today's ‘All Party Meeting’ on China border issue which was to be chaired by you.”
Hours before the all party meeting is set to begin on Friday evening, Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted out a number of ‘facts’ about the Galwan encounter, that will possibly lead to discussions during the meeting.
It’s now crystal clear that:
1. The Chinese attack in Galwan was pre-planned.
2. GOI was fast asleep and denied the problem.
3. The price was paid by our martyred Jawans.https://t.co/ZZdk19DHcG
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 19, 2020
(With inputs from ANI.)
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