A day after his measured response to the violent confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops at Galwan Valley, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi turned up the heat against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, questioning his silence on the issue. “Why is the PM silent? Why is he hiding? Enough is enough. We need to know what has happened,” he tweeted on Wednesday.
He was equally combative in taking on China for its violent border transgressions. “How dare China kill our soldiers? How dare they take our land?” he added.
On Tuesday, the Wayanad MP condoled the deaths of the 20 Indian Army personnel who died in violent clashes with the Chinese troops. “Words cannot describe the pain I feel for the officers and men who sacrificed their lives for our country. My condolences to all their loved ones. We stand with you in this difficult time,” he tweeted.
His mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi also said she was “deeply anguish and pained” after de-escalation efforts at the Indo-China border took an unprecedented turn.
“My tributes to their undaunting courage and condolences to the bereaved families. We stand together in defending our security and territorial integrity,” she said in a statement.
“Deeply anguished and pained by the reports of martyrdom of the brave officer and jawans of our Army in Galwan Valley, Ladakh,” she said.
The Army’s initial statement Tuesday afternoon said an officer and two soldiers were killed, but late at night a second statement confirmed the loss of 20 lives on the Indian side.
“Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of 15/16 June 2020. 17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high-altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total that were killed in action to 20. Indian Army is firmly committed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation,” the Army said in the statement.
Army sources identified the officer killed in the line of duty as Colonel B Santosh Babu, CO of 16 Bihar.