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Ladakh face-off | PMO says ‘mischievous’ spin given to Narendra Modi’s remark at all-party meeting

An Army truck drives along a road in Leh, Ladakh on June 20, 2020.

An Army truck drives along a road in Leh, Ladakh on June 20, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AFP

A storm sparked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on Friday that nobody had intruded across the Indian frontier in eastern Ladakh continued to swirl on Saturday, with a clarification issued by his office leading to more questioning by the Opposition. 

The statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said attempts were being made “in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation to remarks by the Prime Minister” at the all-party meeting on Friday.

Ladakh face-off | China lost more than 40 soldiers in Galwan, says Gen. V.K. Singh

In his closing remarks at the meeting to discuss Chinese aggression, Mr. Modi had said: “Neither has anyone intruded into our frontier, nor is anyone present there, nor are any of our posts under someone else’s occupation.”

The Congress said the government must clarify if Chinese troops were present on Indian territory.

The PMO statement, which did not make a specific reference to the line that has turned controversial, said: “Prime Minister was clear that India would respond firmly to any attempts to transgress the Line of Actual Control (LAC). In fact, he specifically emphasised that in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges, Indian forces now decisively counter any violations of LAC.”

 

Ladakh face-off | PMO says ‘mischievous’ spin given to Narendra Modi’s remark at all-party meeting
 

Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs had said the violent clash between the forces of both countries on June 15 in the Galwan Valley that led to the loss 20 Indian lives, was “a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there.”

Also read | Rahul accuses Modi of surrendering land to China

Claims over Galwan

As China reiterated its claims over the Galwan region, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said it was the Chinese side that had crossed the LAC and “sought to erect structures”. “When this attempt was foiled, Chinese troops took violent actions,” he said.

Ladakh face-off | Chinese troops responsible for deadly clashes: India

The PMO statement said Mr. Modi’s remarks made a distinction between the current government and its predecessors. “Insofar as there is some illegal occupation…over the last 60 years, more than 43,000 sq.km has been yielded…this Government will not allow any unilateral change of the LAC.”

The Congress said the statement was “a lame attempt to obfuscate”. “PMO and the government need to clearly state their position on the Galwan Valley. Is it not part of Indian territory?” party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked.

Also read | Explain everything on Galwan, Congress urges govt

Pointing out that the PMO statement referred only to incidents of June 15, Mr. Surjewala asked: “But what about the intrusions between May 5 and June 15? We refer to several statements of the Defence Minister admitting to the presence of Chinese forces “in large numbers” and the statement of the Chief of Army Staff on “disengagement….If Chinese troops are not present in Indian territory, why is the MEA harping on disengagement and de-escalation as late as on June 17, 2020?,” he asked. 

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 11:43:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pmo-says-mischievous-spin-given-to-modis-remark-at-meet/article31879855.ece

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