With questions being raised about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks at last week’s all-party meet, former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said his successor “must be mindful of the implications of his words” and “cannot allow China to use them as a vindication of its position”.
In a letter to the prime minister today, the senior Congress leader said that “disinformation is no substitute for diplomacy or decisive leadership. “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,” he wrote.
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Singh’s remarks came days after a political storm erupted over PM Modi’s remarks that no Chinese troops had intruded into the Indian territory. Subsequently, questions were raised by Opposition leaders on how did India suffer casualties if no Chinese troops entered the territory. The government later clarified that the “focus of the PM’s remarks” at the all-party meeting “were the events of 15 June at Galwan that led to the loss of lives of 20 Indian military personnel” and that “attempts are being made in some quarters” to give it “a mischievous interpretation”.
Besides this, the veteran Congress leader also noted that all future actions and decisions will have serious bearings on how the future generations perceive us. “Those who lead us bear the weight of a solemn duty,” he said.
“And in our democracy that responsibility rests with the office of the prime minister. The prime minister must always be mindful of the implications of his words and declarations on our nation’s security as also strategic and territorial interests,” he said in a statement on the standoff with China in Ladakh,” the letter added.
This is a moment where we must stand together as a nation and be united in our response to this brazen threat: Press Statement by Former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh pic.twitter.com/qP3hN3Od9D
— Congress (@INCIndia) June 22, 2020
Stating that India will not be cowed down by threats, Singh said: “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 between April 2020 till date. We cannot and will not be cowed down by threats and intimidation nor permit a compromise with our territorial integrity.”
He also called upon the prime minister to ensure justice for soldiers who died defending India’s territorial integrity. “To do any less would be a historic betrayal of people’s faith,” he said.
Twenty Indian Army personnel were killed in a brutal attack by the Chinese military in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15.
Responding to Singh’s letter to the prime minister earlier in the day, BJP President J P Nadda said: “Former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh’s statement is mere wordplay. Sadly, the conduct and actions of top leaders of the Congress party will not make any Indian believe such statements. Remember, this is the same INC that always questions and demoralises our armed forces.”
He added: “India fully trusts and supports PM Modi. 130 crore Indians have seen his administrative experience in some of the most testing times, particularly how he has always put the well-being of the nation over and above everything else.”
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