New Delhi: In a strong rebuttal to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) clarification that the Prime Minister's statement related to the post-June 15 scenario, the Congress on Saturday dismissed it as "clearly a lame attempt to obfuscate the truth" and urged the Prime Minister to follow 'Raj Dharma' and rise to the challenge of protecting 'National Security' and 'Territorial Integrity.'
Party chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said the PMO and the Government need to first clearly state their position on the Galwan Valley. Is Galwan Valley not part of Indian territory? Why is Government not coming forward and strongly rebutting the Chinese claim over Galwan Valley? If Chinese troops are present there, does it not amount to intrusion into and occupation of the Indian territory? Also, why is the Government silent on intrusions in the Pangong Tso area?
"The PMO's statement belittles the gravity of the situation on the India-China LAC. Security Experts, Army Generals and Satellite Imagery have confirmed not only one intrusion on June 15, 2020 but several intrusions into and occupation of Indian territory in the Ladakh area," Surjewala said in a rejoinder.
"The Prime Minister's observations that "there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces.” Clearly, the implication is that there was one intrusion on June 15 and it was repulsed, he said.
"But what about the intrusions between May 5 and June 15? We refer to several statements of the Defence Minister admitting to the presence of Chinese forces “in large numbers” and the statement of the Chief of Army Staff on "disengagement". The Government has consistently demanded "restoration of status quo ante". We also refer to the statement of MEA dated June 7 that both sides agreed to “resolve the situation in the border areas” and called for an “early resolution.”
If there was no other intrusion into the Indian territory, how were the Chinese present "in large numbers" or why was restoration of "status quo ante" being demanded or "disengagement" and "early resolution" being sought, Surjewala asked.
He also referred to the MEA statement of June 17 on the agreement reached on June 6 on “disengagement” and “de-escalation.” The June 17 statement also said “the Chinese side sought to erect a structure in Galwan Valley on our side of the LAC.” If Chinese troops are not present in Indian territory, why is the MEA harping on disengagement and de-escalation as late as on June 17," the Congress leader asked.
He said all these unmistakably point to the presence of Chinese troops at several places in the Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso Area that have to be brought under “disengagement” and “de-escalation.” He said: "Our information is that no such disengagement has been completed by the Chinese and, in view of their illegal claim to the whole of Galwan Valley, the onus lies on the Government to protect our territorial integrity."