Opposition leaders in Rajya Sabha urged the government on Thursday to restore the status quo ante as in April this year on the India-China border.
Cutting party lines, members in the Upper House of Parliament expressed solidarity and support for the armed forces, which are facing an unstable situation against the Chinese army in eastern Ladakh.
Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad Anand Sharma and former Congressional Defense Minister AK Antony urged the government to take action to restore the April status quo and resolve the over-three-month border blockade.
Several members such as Biju Janata Dal (BJD)’s Prasanna Acharya and Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut warned the government as they entered into an agreement with China on the current situation.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement to Rajya Sabha after the government and the opposition agreed that there would be no discussion on the sensitive issue.
READ:No Force Can Stop Indian Patrol: Rajnath Singh on Border Line
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, however, allowed members to seek some clarification on the statement, which was almost identical to what Singh did in Lok Sabha on 15 September.
Sharma said the country is proud of its Army and the sacrifices made by soldiers to protect the border.
“There should be no doubt about it and the whole nation would stand together,” he said.
Referring to recent talks between the Indian defense minister and foreign minister with their Chinese counterparts and a statement on September 11, Sharma asked: “Do we understand that restoring the status quo ante will remain a non-negotiable and final goal for India? “
Antony sought clarification on Singh’s statement in the Upper House.
“You have to clarify that sovereignty means the status quo ante as in mid-April. That is the meaning of sovereignty,” he said.
The Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh has never been a controversial place, the former defense minister said.
“Even in the Galvan Valley, our soldiers are now not allowed to patrol at the point where they used to patrol. In the Pangong area, in an area of more than eight kilometers, they are not allowing us to patrol, an area that we used to , we have patrolled up to Finger 8 and now we are not allowed to patrol until Finger 8, “he added.
The Indo-Tibetan Army and Border Police (ITBP) should be allowed to patrol at the point where they previously patrolled, the Congress leader said.
Azad said he stands with the armed forces and salutes their bravery.
A citizen of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir, Azad said people from there are willing to sacrifice themselves to protect the nation’s territory and integrity.
“On behalf of my party, I would say at least on this issue of China, we stand with the government. There should be no compromise. They should return to the position they were in April,” the congressional leader said.
Janata Dal (United)’s RCP Singh said China is an “ungrateful” country that always pursues a “policy of aggression”. He suggested that the government should negotiate with the neighboring country from a strong position.
Tiruchi Siva and P Wilson of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) expressed their solidarity with the armed forces.
Raut said patience and bravery are the traditions of India but not of China.
The neighboring country has a “betrayal tradition and we must always be careful with them,” said Shiv Sena leader.
BP Baishya of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) said people in the Northeast are with the armed forces and salute their sacrifice.
Ravi Prakash Verma of Samajwadi Party (PS), K Keshava Rao of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Binoy Viswam of Communist Party of India (CPI), Elamaram Kareem of Communist Party of India (Marxist), Sanjay Singh of Aam Aadmi Party ( AAP) and Veer Singh of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also took part in the debate and expressed their solidarity with the armed forces.
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