Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Monday sought justice for martyred Col Santosh Babu, who was killed in the clash with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley, urging the government not to be cowed down by “threats and intimidation” in dealing with the neighbour nor permitting “compromise with our territorial integrity”.
In a statement, the former PM also sought to remind the government that “disinformation is no substitute for diplomacy or decisive leadership”.
“At this moment, we stand at historic cross-roads. Our Government’s decisions and actions will have serious bearings on how the future generations perceive us. Those who lead us bear the weight of a solemn duty. And in our democracy that responsibility rests with the office of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister must always be mindful of the implications of his words and declarations on our Nation’s security as also strategic and territorial interests,” Singh said.
He added, “China is brazenly and illegally seeking to claim parts of Indian territory such as the Galwan Valley and the Pangong Tso Lake by committing multiple incursions between April 2020 till date. We cannot and will not be cowed down by threats and intimidation nor permit a compromise with our territorial integrity. The Prime Minister cannot allow them to use his words as a vindication of their position and must ensure that all organs of the government work together to tackle this crisis and prevent it from escalating further.”
The senior Congress leader also reminded the government “that disinformation is no substitute for diplomacy or decisive leadership. The truth cannot be suppressed by having pliant allies spout comforting but false statements”.
“We call upon the Prime Minister and the Government to rise to the occasion, to ensure justice for Col. B. Santosh Babu and our jawans who have made the ultimate sacrifice and resolutely defended our territorial integrity. To do any less would be a historic betrayal of the people’s faith,” he said.
The Congress has been seeking answers from the Narendra Modi government over the violent clashes in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed and damage was also inflicted on the Chinese troops. Party leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday referred to PM Modi as “Surender Modi”, a day after accusing the prime minister of having “surrendered” Indian territory to Chinese aggression.
Stepping up the offensive against the government on the Ladakh standoff, the Congress alleged that PM Modi had “endorsed the Chinese position” by saying that there was no intrusion into Indian territory.
Congress leader and former Union minister Kapil Sibal said the government should not remain in denial. It should not back down till the Chinese retreat and status quo ante is restored at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de-facto border between India and China.
Twenty Indian soldiers, including a colonel, were killed in the violent face-off with Chinese troops on the night of June 15/16 in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. This is the biggest confrontation between the militaries of India and China after their 1967 clashes in Nathu La, when India lost around 80 soldiers, while the death toll on the Chinese side was over 300.