Rahul Gandhi urges Modi to come out of ‘hiding’ as India-China tensions escalate
Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come out of ‘hiding’ and take the nation into confidence over the India-China ‘violent face-off’ in Ladakh.
“Why is the PM silent? Why is he hiding? Enough is enough. We need to know what has happened. How dare China kill our soldiers? How dare they take our land?” he tweeted.
At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh after a “violent face-off” ensued on Monday night, reported Indian media on Tuesday, quoting the army.
According to ANI, both sides ‘disengaged’ after 17 Indian troops were injured. The injured troops “exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries”, ANI had said. This brought the death toll, from the earlier reported three to 20.
PM Modi has so far kept mum over the incident, leading to anger and dissent within India and calls from opposition parties urging the BJP government to take the nation into confidence as to what happened in the disputed area.
Beijing accuses India of crossing border, ‘attacking personnel’
China, in response to India’s statement, accused Indian troops of crossing a disputed border between the two countries, reported AFP.
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian blamed Indian troops crossed the borderline twice on Monday, “provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in a serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides”.
Beijing has lodged “strong protests and solemn representations” to Delhi, he said.
“We once again solemnly ask the Indian side to follow our consensus, strictly regulate its front-line troops and do not cross the line, do not stir up troubles or make unilateral moves that may complicate matters,” Press Trust of India quoted Lijian as saying.
He added, “China and Indian side agreed to resolve the bilateral issues through dialogue to ease the border situation and maintain peace and tranquility in border areas.”
‘Chinese side also suffered casualties in clash’
Editor-in-chief of the Chinese publication Global Times had taken to Twitter and revealed that the Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley clash.
“Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash. I want to tell the Indian side, don’t be arrogant and misread China’s restraint as being weak. China doesn’t want to have a clash with India, but we don’t fear it,” he had tweeted.
Pakistan closely monitoring India’s situation with China: Qureshi
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in response to the border clash between the world’s two most populous countries that Pakistan was “closely monitoring” the situation.
Speaking on Geo News programme “Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath”, Qureshi said the responsibility of the escalation at the disputed Ladakh region — at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China — lay squarely with India, which “should not have constructed roads” there.
Qureshi said the longstanding conflict between the two neighbouring nations has seen war in 1962 and while India overstepped again earlier today, “China used existing mechanisms to resolve the situation through talks and strategy”.
“India continued on and tried to flex its muscles; it first got a visible beating and now 20 of its troops have been killed,” the foreign minister had said. That number, he warned, could rise as well, given the concerning situation.
Terming its behaviour as a hampering of strategic regional ties, he said India was martyring Kashmiris by firing across the Line of Control (LoC), has locked horns with China at the LAC, has started a conflict with Nepal, used the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and upset Bangladesh by calling its citizens “termites”, and has issues with Sri Lanka.
People were curious about India’s foreign policy, he added, noting that the country “has become isolated”.
Qureshi said India made the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) forum dysfunctional and there was no neighbouring country with which it had good relations.