Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government to rise to the occasion and ensure justice for the 20 soldiers who died in a clash with Chinese troops and defended India’s territorial integrity.
“To do any less would be a historic betrayal of the people’s faith,” he said in a statement.
In his first remarks on the border standoff, Singh said China is brazenly and illegally seeking to claim parts of Indian territory, such as Galwan Valley and Pangong Lake, by committing multiple incursions from April onwards.
“We cannot and will not be cowed down by threats and intimidation nor permit a compromise with our territorial integrity,” he said.
“We, the nation, lost twenty brave soldiers in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh on June 15-16. They laid down their lives in the ultimate act of sacrifice, valour and duty to our country. Our brave hearts defended the motherland till their last breath and for that we owe them, and their families, our eternal gratitude,” Singh said.
Their sacrifice cannot be allowed to be in vain, the senior Congress leader asserted.
The Congress has been repeatedly asking the government to be transparent on the standoff and inform the nation about Chinese transgressions.
Modi recently said there are no Chinese troops on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and no Indian posts have been captured.
Singh said, “At this moment, we stand at historic cross-roads. Our government’s decisions and actions will have serious bearings on how the future generations perceive us. Those who lead us bear the weight of a solemn duty.”
He added, “And in our democracy that responsibility rests with the office of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister must always be mindful of the implications of his words and declarations on our nation’s security as also strategic and territorial interests.”
Singh further said the Prime Minister cannot allow the Chinese to use his words as a vindication of their position and must ensure that all organs of the government work together to tackle this crisis and prevent it from escalating.
“This is a moment where we must stand together as a nation and be united in our response to this brazen threat,” he said.
“We remind the government that disinformation is no substitute for diplomacy or decisive leadership. The truth cannot be suppressed by having pliant allies spout comforting but false statements,” Singh said.
Indian and Chinese border troops have been engaged in a months-old border standoff, with the Galwan Valley in Ladakh the focus of tensions. The situation was exacerbated by a violent clash on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. Several rounds of talks through diplomatic and military channels have failed to make a breakthrough and facilitate de-escalation and disengagement.