Opposition to raise India-China border issue at parliamentary committee meet

NEW DELHI: Amid growing political tussle over the issue of India-China border dispute, the parliamentary standing committee on defence is likely see a face-off between the ruling party and opposition members with the latter planning to raise the issue at the next meeting of the panel.

While opposition leaders feel that the union government has been non-transparent about the issue, the latter is of the view that an official stand would be given in Parliament. Members of the opposition parties, primarily led by Congress, feel the union government has not even acknowledged the problem and should have come out with a detailed statement about the ongoing talks with China.

“There is no doubt that this is one of the most important issues that we will raise when the committee meets next. The union government has not been proactive in giving official stand on the issue. While there is no word on when the standing committee will meet next, we are going to raise the China border dispute issue, that is definite,” a senior opposition leader, who is part of the committee, said requesting anonymity.

This is is an interesting political development given that former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, one of the most vocal critics of the government over the issue, is a member of the standing committee of defence. Claiming that China has occupied territory in Ladakh, Gandhi has been demanding that the government should inform people about India’s official position.

The political tussle over the situation can be gauged from the fact that senior union ministers like Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Ravi Shankar Prasad have defended the government and responded to attacks by opposition parties which include not just the Congress but also Trinamool Congress (TMC), and Shiv Sena.

“This is a high stake issue, the public needs answer. If the union government is not providing it on their own it is the responsibility of the committee to assess it,” the leader quoted above added. Indian government has said India and China are maintaining military and diplomatic engagement to peacefully resolve border tensions and that its military and diplomatic level ties with China have been positive and shall continue.

Members of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) said opposition parties should stand firm with the government against China and not indulge in political mudslinging on such sensitive issues which concern the borders of the country.

“The ongoing talks between India can China should not be politicized by opposition parties, specially by Rahul Gandhi who is trying to use the issue to score points against the union government. This is an issue not about political differences. The talks between India and China are not just about defence but also impacts diplomacy and such issues should not be used for political debate,” said a senior BJP leader in the know of development.

The face-off started nearly a month ago with China opposing India’s move to laying a key road near Pangong Tso Lake besides constructing another link road connecting Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley. China has deployed a large number of troops in Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley besides gradually building temporary infrastructure and amassing weaponry.

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