LADAKH: PM Modi says befitting reply, if provoked; calls all-party meeting on Friday

NEWS CHINA MODI

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first open response to the Chinese aggression in Ladakh, said India wants peace but is capable of giving a befitting reply, if provoked. India has always promoted peace among nations, PM Modi said while addressing chief ministers via a previously scheduled video conference to take stock of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The PM started his address with a reference to the death of a Colonel and several Indian soldiers in Galwan Valley in Ladakh, where a Chinese PLA band of soldiers unleashed brutality in the cold and snowy night last Monday. The aggression killed 20 soldiers on the Indian side, as per hints from the government, while reports say Chinese suffered casualties in the range of 35 – deaths and injuries, together.

In our neighbourhood, India’s attempt has always been to ensure that differences did not turn into disputes, the PM said, adding, “the country will be proud that they died after they killed their adversaries. “Desh ko is baat par garv hoga ki vae maarte, maarte, maren hai)… I assure the nation that the sacrifices of our jawans will not be in vain.  Our unity and sovereignty is the most important and no one can stop us from protecting it. No one should have a doubt on this point. India wants peace but is capable of giving a befitting reply to aggressors,” the PM said.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah also were present at the video conference. Singh said about the jawans who laid down their lives in Ladakh, “The nation will remember for ever their bravery and sacrifice. My heart goes out to the families of the fallen soldiers.” Stated Shah: “This pain  from Galwan cannot be put in words. The nation salutes our heroes who sacrificed their lives to keep Indian territory safe and secure,” Shah said.

Meanwhile, officials stated elsewhere that front-line bases of the Indian army and the air force along the nearly 3,500 km de-facto border with China have been put on high alert, especially in the sensitive Galwan Valley. The Army has rushed additional troops to all its key front-line bases and formations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, they said.

President Ram Nath Kovind led the nation in offering deepest condolences to the brave soldiers who laid down their lives in Galwan while fighting to protect the border and the nation. “All those who laid down their lives in Galwan valley of Ladakh have upheld the best traditions of the Indian armed forces. Their valour will be eternally etched in the memory of the nation. My deepest condolences to their families,” the President said in a tweet.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated, “This  unprecedented development will have a serious impact on the bilateral relationship. The need of the hour is for the Chinese side to reassess its actions and take corrective steps. “The two sides should scrupulously and sincerely implement the understanding reached by Senior Commanders on 6 June. Troops of both sides should also abide by bilateral agreements and protocols. They should strictly respect and observe LAC and shouldn’t take any unilateral action to alter it,” the ministry added.

Meanwhile, a Reuters report from Beijing quoted the Chinese foreign ministry as saying, “China, India agree to resolve border clash in a fair way, de-escalate as soon as possible.”

PM CALLS ALL-PARTY MEET

“In order to discuss the situation in the India-China border areas, Prime Minister @narendramodi has called for an all-party meeting at 5 PM on 19th June. Presidents of various political parties would take part in this virtual meeting,” the PMO tweeted.

NAMES OF 20 SOLDIERS RELEASED

The Indian Army has released the names of the 20 military personnel, including an officer, who laid out their lives in the violent face-off with China.

CONGRESS RESPONSE

Congress president Sonia Gandhi ha said the prime minister should tell the nation how the Chinese occupied Indian territory and why 20 of our brave soldiers were martyred. She also wanted the government to come clear on how much of Indian territory has been occupied by China and what is the government’s strategy to deal with the situation. The Congress Working Committee would meet on June 23 to discuss the tense  India-China standoff and Chinese aggression in Ladakh.

Stated Gautam Bambawale, former Indian Ambassador to China: “From early May, Chinese PLA has been trying to occupy ground position on basis of its idea of LAC and we don’t agree with their perception. So, Indian troops in early May stopped Chinese troops from advancing.” -IHN-NN

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