A delegation of the National Democratic Alliance led by the working chairperson, L.K. Advani, has sought the intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee to halt the “visible drift in the management” of the country’s external relations as reflected in the handling of the Sarabjit Singh episode and the Chinese incursions.
In a memorandum, the delegation requested the President to take up the two issues as well as the management of foreign affairs with the government and direct it to take necessary action.
“Sarabjit had reportedly completed his sentence and had received a condonation of his death sentence, as its execution had been delayed for too long. We are given to understand that he was due to be released but held back in Pakistan as a retaliatory gesture,” the memorandum said.
Maintaining that Sarabjit’s murder could not have taken place without “official connivance” in the Lahore jail, it said that had New Delhi been pro-active in ensuring the return of Sarabjit his life would have been saved.
“What distresses us very greatly is the inaction of the Government of India, the Ministry of External Affairs and the officials concerned of not having constantly monitored this case ... We are persuaded to emphasise this because we hold that our government’s inaction in this case cannot be condoned. They owe the country an explanation and an apology,” Mr. Advani told reporters outside Rashtrapati Bhavan.
On the “unilateral and forceful Chinese occupation” in Ladakh, the NDA expressed concern that this may escalate into a 1962-like situation when there were similar incursions before it turned into a full-blown war.
“The government and the Prime Minister have repeatedly announced that this is a ‘localised’ incident. May we submit this would tantamount to a disingenuous evasion of government’s responsibility?
“We would like to remind the government that silent acquiescence in the face of fait-accompli, whether of Pakistan or China is unforgivable pusillanimity. This is simply not acceptable,” the NDA memorandum said.
It contended that just because the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was undefined did not mean that China could give it a unilateral physical definition through unilateral and forceful occupation.
“This manner of unilateral ‘localised’ actions, resulting in seizure of land, amounts to giving a forcible and physical definition to the LAC.”
The NDA leaders maintained that the “arbitrary and unilateral breach” by China cannot be viewed as normal conduct.
“It is violative of agreed principles governing the conduct of forces of China in respect of the LAC,” the memorandum said.
Recalling a resolution adopted by both Houses of Parliament in November 1962 on China, Mr. Advani said: “The government must govern, or it must go.”
Mr. Advani insisted that the government should clarify both the Sarabjit case and the Chinese intrusions in Parliament next week.
He requested that India should revert to the 2010 position and again post the Army in the region.
He also said that External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid should cancel his proposed visit to China on May 9.