Cong demands white paper on developments at LAC

New Delhi: The Congress on Monday demanded a white paper on the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at the border with China and a comprehensive discussion on the India-China border dispute in Parliament.

Senior spokesperson of the Congress Manish Tewari said at a press conference here that three years ago, on June 19, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told an all-party meeting after the Galwan clashes ​​that “neither anyone has entered our border, nor any post is in the possession of others”.

Tewari said Modi’s remarks were contrary to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs a day before, where it was clearly stated that the Galwan incident took place because Chinese soldiers tried to intrude and set up tents on the Indian side of the border.

“As a responsible opposition, we demand a comprehensive discussion on the India-China border dispute. We also demand that a white paper be issued on what is the truth of the developments that have happened on the LAC in the last three years,” the Congress leader said.

He asked if it is true that the Indian Army has lost control over 26 of the 65 patrolling points on the LAC.

“Is it true that buffer zones have been created within our borders? What did the government of India do to stop the transgressions on the LAC by China? Why was China not discussed even once in Parliament or the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of Defence?” Tewari asked, questioning why does the Parliament secretariat not admit questions related to the LAC.

On September 5, 2020, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a two-and-a-half-hour-long discussion with his Chinese counterpart during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Moscow, he said, adding that during the Russia-India-China trilateral in Moscow on September 11, 2020, the external affairs minister also held discussions with the Chinese foreign minister on the situation at the LAC.

“There have been 18 border-level talks in the last three years. When there was no intrusion, then what is the truth of the continuous discussions for three years?” he asked.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh wrote on Twitter: “If the Chinese didn’t enter our territory or capture any posts, as the PM declared 3 years ago, what is the truth behind the many meetings held by Indian and Chinese counterparts at various levels.” Ramesh also said Modi gave a “clean chit” to the neighbouring country three years ago, adding that the prime minister’s continued silence on Chinese transgressions along the border has weakened India’s negotiating position.

Ramesh shared on Twitter a speech of the prime minister delivered three years ago, in which he had said nobody had entered Indian territory and no one was in occupation of it.

“Today three years ago the Prime Minister gave this clean chit to China. Just listen to him. It has hurt and will continue to hurt India very badly. His continued silence thereafter both in Parliament and outside has contributed to a weakening of India’s negotiating position,” the former Union minister tweeted.