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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Standoff along LAC with China: Government says no debate in House, may brief Oppn

The indications came even as main opposition Congress slammed the government for not allowing its members to ask questions to the Defence Minister after his statement. The Opposition staged a walkout in Lok Sabha.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | September 16, 2020 1:24:40 am
MPs salary cuts, MPLADS restoration, Parliament, Monsoon session, Indian express newsThe Bills allow a 30-per cent salary cut for MPs and Union ministers to help the battle against Covid-19. (Representational/PTI)

On a day Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement in Lok Sabha on the military standoff with China, the government, it is learnt, is likely to soon hold an “in camera” meeting either with all or select Opposition leaders about the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

The indications came even as main opposition Congress slammed the government for not allowing its members to ask questions to the Defence Minister after his statement. The Opposition staged a walkout in Lok Sabha.

Sources in the Opposition said the government, through various channels, had signaled to them that it would, along with the military leadership, hold an “in camera” briefing with them on the ground situation, and how the armed forces are tackling it.

In the past, governments of the day had made it a point to reach out to the Opposition in an attempt to forge a political consensus during such crises. In the wake of the killing of 20 Army personnel, including a Colonel-rank officer, in violent clashes in the Galwan Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reached out to the Opposition with a view to build a domestic consensus.

Modi had convened an all-party meeting on June 19 but the meeting created some discord after the Prime Minister, in his concluding address, told the political leaders that neither has anyone intruded into Indian territory nor has anyone captured any military posts. The Congress has since criticised the government over that statement.

Similarly, the NDA government had briefed the Opposition in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack last year, and during the standoff with China in Doklam in 2017. While the all-party meeting on Doklam on July 14, 2017, was convened by then External Affairs Minister, late Sushma Swaraj, then Home Minister Rajnath Singh had briefed the Opposition on February 17, 2019 about the Pulwama attack.

Swaraj had also held an all-party meeting following the Balakot air strike by the IAF on February 26, 2019. The meeting was attended by then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

In the UPA government, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also reached out similarly.

In the wake of tension with Pakistan along the LoC and beheading of Lance Naik Hemraj by Pakistani soldiers in January 2013, Singh had spoken to then Leaders of Opposition Swaraj and Jaitley and assured them that the Opposition would be informed about the situation. A day later, then National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon had briefed both leaders.

In 1999, then PM A B Vajpayee had convened two all-party meetings in the wake of the Kargil conflict, followed by a meeting of chief ministers.

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