Take tough stand on stand-off with China, Punjab CM urges Centre

Chandigarh, Jun 5 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday urged the Centre to take a tough stand on the continuing border stand-off with China if the neighbouring country was not responding to the diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue.

The problem needs to be resolved through negotiations and diplomacy but 'we cannot turn our back to the threat posed by the aggressive moves of China at the border,' Singh said here.  As sovereign nations, both the countries should find a diplomatic solution to the problem, said Singh, adding that India 'does not want war but we will not accept bullying by China'.

'We want peace, but they cannot push us around,' he said, asserting that the Chinese had to be pushed back out of the Indian territory.

Asserting that India cannot keep allowing its land to go away, the chief minister said if the threat is not countered, China will demand more and more land in the future, which cannot be permitted at any cost.

Citing the Doklam standoff, he pointed out that such provocations on the part of China were common, and they had 'encroached the Indian territory even in Aksai Chin, and had resorted to similar actions in Arunachal Pradesh'.

Attempts have been made by China in the past to lay claims on Indian land in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh too, the chief minister pointed out.

China has to leave the Indian territory into which they have now moved and on which they have no right, he said, warning that the Indian armed forces were now much more modernised and equipped than they were back in 1962, and 'China cannot not afford to take us lightly'.

Asked about the threats of disturbance to mark the Operation Blue Star anniversary on Saturday, the chief minister said nobody would be allowed to disrupt the peace of Punjab, which had lost 35,000 lives during the dark days of terror.

No Punjabi wants this, he said, adding that it was only a handful of anti-India elements that continued to try and provoke people in the name of Khalistan every now and then.

To another question, Singh also ruled out opening of schools amid the coronvirus pandemic without getting a clean chit from medical experts.

He asserted that the health and safety of children was of paramount importance.

He further said his government would appeal against the recent Punjab and Haryana High Court order, which had reportedly allowed private schools to charge 70 per cent fee for the current session. PTI CHS VSD KJ KJ