Rawat briefs Parliamentary panel

Bipin Rawat  

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat on Friday told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence that the Indian armed forces had taken adequate measures to thwart any effort by the Chinese Army to alter the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The meeting was attended for the first time, after the committee was constituted last year, by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

The Standing Committee, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jual Oram, was meeting to deliberate on “provision and monitoring of quality of ration and livery items to the defence forces, especially in border areas.”

According to sources, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar, who has held the defence portfolio in the past, asked the government to make a formal presentation on the status at the LAC.

The Army officers did not give any immediate reply, but have said a written reply will be submitted later.

It is not clear whether Mr. Gandhi too asked questions on the LAC, though he has been relentlessly questioning the government on the subject through tweets and video messages.

Informed sources, however, confirmed that he expressed concern over the quality of food being served to jawans, especially for those posted in border areas. He specifically asked why there was a difference between the quality of food served to jawans and officers.

In reply, the Army said there was no qualitative and quantitative difference.

Mr. Gandhi, in a tweet hours before the committee meeting, had said, “The Chinese have taken our land. When exactly is GOI planning to get it back? Or is that also going to be left to an ‘Act of God’?”

‘Restoringstatus quo’

And after the meeting, he tweeted, “The only ‘talk’ to have with China is about restoration of ‘Status Quo Ante’ as of March 2020. PM & GOI refuse to take responsibility for pushing China out of our land. All other ‘talk’ is worthless.”

The Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been locked in a tense stand-off in multiple areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh since early May.

Shots were fired across the LAC on Monday for the first time in 45 years, with the two sides accusing each other of firing in the air.

At an earlier meeting of the Standing Committee on External Affairs, questions by the opposition members about the LAC were shot down by committee chairperson P.P. Chaudhary citing national security.