NEW DELHI: Amid the raging controversy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘no-intrusion’ remark over the Ladakh face-off, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked the BJP mascot to rebuff China’s bid to use his words to appropriate Indian territory, warning him of “historic betrayal of people’s faith”.
Making a surprise intervention in the charged debate, Singh said Modi should be “mindful of the implications of his words and declarations on our nation’s security as also strategic and territorial interests”.
“China is brazenly and illegally seeking to claim parts of Indian territory such as the Galwan Valley and the Pangong Tso lake by committing multiple incursions since April 2020 till date. We cannot and will not be cowed down by threats and intimidation nor permit a compromise with our territorial integrity. The PM cannot allow them to use his words as a vindication of their position and must ensure that all organs of the government work together to tackle this crisis and prevent it from escalating further,” he said in a written statement on Monday.
In a withering attack on the BJP government over its ‘no-intrusion’ claim, Singh said, “We remind the government that disinformation is no substitute for diplomacy or decisive leadership. The truth cannot be suppressed by having pliant allies spout comforting but false statements.”
Singh’s attack pertains to the June 15 clashes which resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers. At an all-party meeting on the issue, PM Modi said there were no Chinese intrusions in India. The remark triggered a storm as army veterans and experts argued that Chinese were in occupation of Indian land in key areas. China followed Modi’s remarks to say Galwan belonged to it and Indian forces had transgressed. Calling these interpretations “mischievous”, PMO later said Modi’s comments were specifically in the context of the areas in Galwan Valley where the skirmishes took place on June 15.
Singh said, “We call upon the PM and the government to rise to the occasion, to ensure justice for Col B Santosh Babu and our jawans who have made the ultimate sacrifice and resolutely defended our territorial integrity… Their sacrifice cannot be allowed to be in vain.”