Country wants assurance on freeing of seized territory, says Sonia

New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, participating in the the all-party meet called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday on the Chinese intrusion in the Galwan Valley and the killing of Indian soldiers, contended that “valuable time had been lost” and asked what the government doing next.

She said that the all party meeting should have been convened earlier.

“We in the Congress Party believe that valuable time was lost between May 5 and June 6, the date on which the Corps Commanders meeting took place. Even after the June 6 meeting, efforts should have been made to talk directly, at the political and diplomatic levels, to the leadership of China, she said, as per a party statement.

“The question is, ‘What next? What is the way forward?' The entire country would like an assurance that status quo ante would be restored and China will revert back to the original position on the Line of Actual Control,” she added.

Gandhi claimed that the government failed to use all avenues, and the result is the loss of 20 lives as well as dozens injured. “I would urge the Prime Minister to kindly share with us all the facts and the sequence of events beginning April this year till date,” she said.

“We have some specific questions, for the Government: On which date did the Chinese troops intrude into our territory in Ladakh? When did the government find out about the Chinese transgressions into our territory? Was it on May 5, as reported, or earlier?

“Does the government not receive, on a regular basis, satellite pictures of the borders of our country? Did our external intelligence agencies not report any unusual activity along the LAC? Did the Military Intelligence not alert the government about the intrusion and the build-up of massive forces along the LAC, whether on the Chinese side or on the Indian side? In the government's considered view, was there a failure of intelligence?

“In fact, even at this late stage, we are still in the dark about many crucial aspects of the crisis,” she added.

Gandhi said that this meeting should have come sooner and immediately after the government had been reportedly informed about the Chinese intrusion into several places in Ladakh and elsewhere, the entire nation would have stood together like a rock and fully supported the government on the steps required to defend the territorial integrity of the country.

The Congresss chief also said that they would like to be briefed on the preparedness of the country's defence forces to meet any threat. “In particular, I would like to ask what is the current status of the Mountain Strike Corps, with two mountain infantry divisions, that was sanctioned in 2013? Should the Government not treat it with utmost priority?” she asked.

Gandhi said that the Congress and the entire opposition unitedly stand by our defence forces and are prepared to make any sacrifice to ensure they are battle ready.

“The entire nation expects that the government will take all opposition parties and the country into confidence and brief us regularly so that we may present to the world a picture of unity and solidarity,” she added.

Gandhi also paid homage to the brave soldiers, who laid down their lives and offered condolences to the bereaved families and wished speedy recovery to the injured.



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