New Delhi: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday criticized the Bhartiya Janta Party led Government of India over the lack of clarity on the killing of 20 Indian forces personnel in a clash with Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15 last year.
An undisclosed number of Chinese troops were also killed in the first such clash between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in over five decades.
In a statement, the senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi said, “Having patiently waited for the government to come clean and inform the nation about the circumstances in which the unprecedented incident happened and reassure the people that the sacrifice of our brave jawans was not in vain, the Congress Party reiterates its concern that no clarity is yet available and the Prime Minister’s last word on the subject a year ago was that no transgression had occurred.”
As per the statement, Gandhi said her party- Indian National Congress- has repeatedly sought information on the episode and details on what progress has been made to return to the status quo ante along the LAC, adding the disengagement agreement with China has proved to be a disadvantage to India.
Meanwhile, the Congress leader urged the GoI to take the nation into confidence and ensure their performance is worthy of the commitment of the forces personnel standing bravely and resolutely at the borders.
Pertinently, the situation in cold desert Ladakh has been under control and there is peace prevailing on both sides with Delhi maintaining that “full disengagement has begun.”
On June 15 last year, the Indian troops in a fight with PLA soldiers suffered a loss of 20 forces personnel who were killed in a deadly clash at Galwan valley.
The tensions between the two countries started in late April last year after China attempted to change the status quo forcing India to counter the action following which both sides held several rounds of talks to resolve the pending issues related to Line of Actual Control (LAC) soon after armies engaged into a violent faceoff.
Immediately after the violent faceoff between the two armies, a massive troop buildup was done besides all the required arrangements were ensured for the troops deployed in eastern Ladakh by the Indian government.
In its annual report, the defence ministry in January in the ensuing year said that unilateral and provocative actions by the Chinese to change the status quo by force, in more than one area on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were responded to in a firm and non-escalator way, ensuring the sanctity of our claims in eastern Ladakh
“The PLA escalated the situation by utilization of unorthodox weapons and amassing a large number of troops adding that the Indian Army with assistance from IAF mobilized troops including accretionary forces in a very short duration including heavy equipment like guns, tanks, and also ammunition, rations, and clothing,” the report had stated.
On February 11, while addressing the parliament regarding the situation in eastern Ladakh, the defence minister of India said that a complete disengagement he began at Pangong TSO lake and not an inch of Indian territory will be given away to anyone.
“We have demanded solution on three points that include both sides must accept the LAC and regard that, no side can unilaterally attempt to change the status quo and all decisions must be adhered to fully”, he said in the address to the upper house.
Giving the border-related details Defence Minister had stated: “China has occupied 38,000 square kilometers of Indian territory since 1962 in Ladakh, moreover, Pakistan handed over 5180 kilometers of land to them in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) as a result China has illegally occupied around 43,000 kilometers of Indian territory.”
He maintained that India has never accepted the unjustified illegal occupation of China.
As per the official statements issued by the government since last year several rounds of talks were held between the two sides at both diplomatic and military levels to resolve the matters related to the LAC.
Notably, the cold desert since then has not reported as such clash between the two sides since that was after at least 45 years when armies of both countries engaged in a standoff resulting in casualties. Meanwhile, the Fire and Fury Corps paid homage to those killed in Galwan on the first anniversary of the violent clash on 15 June 2021.
“The nation will remain eternally grateful to these gallant soldiers who fought in the most difficult high altitude terrain and made the supreme sacrifice in service of the nation,” said a defence spokesman.
In face of the unprecedented Chinese aggression, 20 Indian soldiers laid down their lives defending the country and inflicted heavy casualties on the PLA, the spokesman said.