'Unnecessary controversy': Govt on PM Modi's comments at all-party meet

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The government on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments at an all-party meeting, called to discuss the situation along the India-China border, have been misinterpreted.

On Friday, PM Modi told an all-party meeting that there has been no intrusion into Indian territory.

“Attempts are being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation to remarks by the Prime Minister at the all-party meeting yesterday. The Prime Minister was clear that India would respond firmly to any attempts to transgress the LAC. In fact, he specifically emphasised that in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges, Indian forces now decisively counter any violations of LAC (“unhe rokte hain, unhe tokte hain”),” read a statement from the Prime Minister’s office (PMO).

After the PM categorically said on Friday that “neither has anyone entered Indian territory, nor is anyone present in Indian territory currently, and nor is any Indian post captured”, opposition parties had criticised the statement.

Twenty Indian soldiers died in the line of duty in brutal hand-to-hand combat with the Chinese troops on Monday.

The Congress party on Saturday said PM Modi’s concluding statements at the all-party meeting had contradicted the earlier statements made by the Army chief, the defence Minister and the foreign minister. The party asked if no Chinese troops had crossed the LAC, what was the reason for the face-off.

The government, however, rebutted the opposition‘s criticism and said that the all-party meeting was informed that this time Chinese forces have come in much larger strength to the LAC and that the Indian response is commensurate.

“As regards transgression at the LAC, it was clearly stated that the violence in Galwan on June 15 arose because Chinese side was seeking to erect structures just across the LAC and refused to desist from such actions,” the government said in a statement.

The statement went on to say that the PM’s observations that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC pertain to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of the Armed Forces. “The sacrifice of the soldiers of the 16 Bihar Regiment for the attempts of the Chinese side to erect structures and also cleared the attempted transgression at this point of the LAC on that day.

The words of the PM, “ those who try to transgress our land were taught a befitting lesson by the brave sons of soil”, succinctly summed up the ethos and values of the Armed Forces”, the statement read.

The union government said an unnecessary controversy is being created to lower the morale of the soldiers for defending the borders. “What is Indian territory is clear from the map of India. This government is strongly and resolutely committed to that,” it added.

Any unilateral change of the LAC will not be allowed, the government added.

The government further asserted that all parties extended support to the government and the forces.

“The predominant sentiment at the meeting was of unequivocal support to the government and the armed forces at a time of national crisis. We are confident that the unity of the Indian people will not be undermined by motivated propaganda,” said the government.

The PM had assured the opposition parties that whether it is deployment, action or counter action Indian forces – be it on land, in the air or in water are doing everything to protect our borders. The infrastructure development in border areas has gained in pace over the past years, he said, adding it has strengthened our patrolling capacity.

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