No discordant murmurs in RS over border row
Manvender Vashist

Unlike the Lok Sabha where members are not allowed to seek clarifications on a minister's statement, the Rajya Sabha rules permit them and yet there were no discordant noises after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's 23-minute statement on the situation on the border in Ladakh.
At least three leaders from the Congress -- Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, deputy leader Anand Sharma and former defence minister A K Anthony -- rose to seek clarifications but none asked any inconvenient questions.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had defused the possibility of any discordant noises by advising the defence minister immediately after his statement that he may call the Opposition leaders in his chamber and take them into confidence on what he could not state, owing to operational constraints.

After all they are "our people" who must be briefed, Naidu stressed since anything said in the House can otherwise reach the enemy.

Azad recounted how the Congress has always stood by the Indian Army and recalled his own visits to Siachen and other border areas. Anand Sharma said the government must restore the status quo ante as it existed in April.

Anthony shared his concern over reports that Indian soldiers are not allowed to patrol in certain areas close to the Line of Actual Control.

The defence minister, in turn, told Anthony that the fight between the two sides is on the issue of patrolling; nonetheless, he assured the House that "no power in the world can stop us from patrolling our borders."

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut appreciated Rajnath Singh for lauding the Indian virtue of patience but asked the government to be alert as China believes in treachery.
Chairman Naidu talked of Indian culture and tradition of not attacking any country. He said he was concerned over "the useless propaganda about differences in India" on the ongoing conflict with China," and he won't like such a message to go out from the House.

After all had spoken, the defence minister said the solidarity with the Armed Forces expressed by all sides is "praiseworthy."
Singh assured the nation that the government won't bow before anybody; nor does it want any country to bow its head either.

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