New Delhi, June 19: Indian National Congress president Sonia Gandhi here on Friday called the Chinese intrusion in Indian territory and violent clash between the two nations a consequence of “intelligence failure”.
Speaking at the all party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the border standoff between the two countries, Ms Gandhi alleged that failure of NDA government at all avenues led to death of Indian soldiers.
Heads of 20 parties, including the Congress, participated in the virtual meeting, which has been called in wake of the India-China border clash.
Twenty Army personnel, including a colonel, died in the violent clash with Chinese troops in Galwan valley in Ladakh.
Speaking at the all party meeting, which was attended by presidents of various political parties, including the BJP, Congress, TMC, AIADMK, DMK, TRS, JD(U), BJD, LJP, BSP, SP, Shiv Sena and NCP among others, Ms Gandhi said that the opposition continues to remain in the dark about many aspects of the border situation.
‘Even at this late stage, we are still in the dark about many crucial aspects of the crisis. We have some specific questions, for the Government: On which date did the Chinese troops intrude into our territory in Ladakh? When did the government find out about the Chinese transgressions into our territory? Was it on May 5th, as reported, or earlier?
Does the government not receive, on a regular basis, satellite pictures of the borders of our country? Did our external intelligence agencies not report any unusual activity along the LAC? Did the military intelligence not alerted the government about the intrusion and the build-up of massive forces along the LAC, whether on the Chinese side or on the Indian side? In the government’s considered view, was there a failure of intelligence?,’ Ms Gandhi asked.
‘We in the Congress Party believe that valuable time was lost between May 5 and June 6, the date on which the Corps Commanders meeting took place. Even after the June 6 meeting, efforts should have been made to talk directly, at the political and diplomatic levels, to the leadership of China. We failed to use all avenues, and the result is the loss of 20 lives as well as dozens injured,’ the Congress president said and urged the Prime Minister to share with the Opposition all the facts and the sequence of events beginning April this year till date.
‘The entire country would like an assurance that status quo ante would be restored and China will revert back to the original position on Line of Actual Control,’Ms Gandhi said.
‘We would also like to be briefed on the preparedness of our defence forces to meet any threat. In particular, I would like to ask what is the current status of the Mountain Strike Corps, with two mountain infantry divisions, that was sanctioned in 2013? Should the Government not treat it with utmost priority?,’she said.
Ms Gandhi said that the Congress and the entire Opposition unitedly stand by defence forces and are prepared to make any sacrifice to ensure they are battle ready
‘We in the Indian National Congress and the entire opposition unitedly stand by our defence forces and are prepared to make any sacrifice to ensure they are battle ready. The Entire nation expects that Government will take all Opposition Parties and the country into confidence and brief us regularly so that we may present to the world a picture of unity and solidarity,’she said.
The meeting was also attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs minister S Jaishankar.
At the start of the meeting, all those present paid tribute to soldiers who lost their lives in Galwan Valley clash.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, have asked the government to be transparent about the situation on the border .
The Congress has been attacking the NDA government over the last few days over its handling of the issue.
In his first comments on the issue on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that the sacrifice of Indian soldiers will not go in vain.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said that Indian soldiers displayed exemplary courage and valour in the line of duty and sacrificed their lives in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.