Indo-China relations have been strained for nearly a year now, following clashes at the border along Ladakh. Representatives of the two nations have since held multiple rounds of talks to restore normalcy at the borders. As as the conflict stretched on, Opposition leaders had been vocal criticism of how the BJP-led government had been handling the situation.
Now, there has been a new development to the situation, that has once against sent Opposition parties into a furore.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday told the Rajya Sabha that India and China have reached an agreement on disengagement. According to the details shared, the agreement pertains to the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh, and mandates both sides to cease forward deployment of troops in a "phased, coordinated and verifiable" manner.
But even as members of the NDA cheered, ruckus ensued in the Upper House of the Parliament. While many Opposition leaders had demanded a debate on Singh's statements on the situation, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu had refused to allow questions.
"No status quo ante = No peace and tranquility. Why is GOI insulting the sacrifice of our jawans and letting go of our territory?" tweeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hours after Singh's speech.
"Rajnath Singh in essence. We are between a rock and a hard place. Verifiable disengagement on North and South Bank of Pangsang-Tso lake. Other transgression points- Depsang, Gogra, Hot Springs , Naku -La Upper Subansri remain under discussion. Status-quo pre April 2020 still an aspiration," reminded fellow Congress leader Manish Tewari.
"Finally, BJP Govt has come out of denial mode and noted China transgression contrary to PM’s “na koi ghusa tha,hai or payega” claim. True victory will be status quo ante restoration and India not conceding any patrolling area. Both the God and Devil lie in ground reality of de-escalation," added INC spokersperson Jaiveer Shergill.
Sharing details of the pact to defuse the tense military face-off in eastern Ladakh that severely strained the ties between the two Asian giants, Singh also assured the Upper House of Parliament that the country has not conceded anything in the sustained talks with China. India will not allow even an inch of its territory to be taken by anyone, he said.
The defence minister said the implementation of the pact will "substantially restore" the situation to the one that existed prior to the standoff which erupted on May 5 last year, adding that the two sides have agreed that they should achieve complete disengagement at the "earliest" and abide fully by the bilateral agreements and protocols.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha a day after China announced the disengagement process, Singh said both sides have agreed to remove structures that were built since April last in the north and south bank areas of the Pangong lake, and put in place a temporary moratorium on military activities, including patrolling the traditional areas.
(With inputs from agencies)