New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his first remarks on the Ladakh face-off, on Monday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi must be mindful of the implications of his words and cannot allow China to use them as a vindication of its position.

Noting that disinformation is no substitute for diplomacy or decisive leadership, Singh called upon the prime minister to ensure justice for soldiers who died defending India's territorial integrity.

"To do any less would be a historic betrayal of people's faith," he said in a statement.

Noting that the country is standing at the historic cross-roads, he said the 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 said.

"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," he said in a statement on the standoff with China in Ladakh.  

The hard-hitting remarks by Singh were in reference to the statement made by PM Modi during the all-party meeting on June 19 where he said that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). 

At the all-party meeting to discuss the situation along the India-China border, PM Modi said: "Na wahan koi hamari seema mein ghusa hua hai, na hi hamari koi post kisi dusre ke kabze mein hain (Neither is anyone inside our territory nor is any of our post captured).” 

India lost 20 of its army personnel, including a colonel, in the violent face-off on the night of June 15/16 in Ladakh's Galwan Valley, the biggest confrontation between the militaries of India and China after their 1967 clashes in Nathu La when India lost around 80 soldiers while the death toll on the Chinese side was over 300.

Following PM Modi's comments, Congress accused him of surrendering Indian territory to Chinese aggression, and asked where the 20 Indian soldiers were killed if the Chinese military did not come to the Indian side of the LAC, the de-facto boundary between the two coutries.

The PMO later clarified on the prime minister's statement, saying that it pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces, who foiled an attempt by Chinese troops to transgress into the Galwan Valley.     

Clarifying Modi's remarks, the PMO said,"the Prime Minister paid glowing tributes to the valour and patriotism of our armed forces who repulsed the designs of the Chinese there. 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."

"Attempts are being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation to remarks by the prime minister at the all-party meeting on Friday," it said.

It further said:"As regards the transgression of 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 sacrifices of the soldiers of the 16 Bihar Regiment foiled the attempt of the Chinese side to erect structures and also cleared the attempted transgression at this point of the LAC on that day," the PMO said.

The PMO said what is Indian territory is clear from the map of India and the current government is strongly and resolutely committed to that.

"In so far as there is some illegal occupation, the all-party meeting was briefed in great detail how over the last 60 years, more than 43,000 sq km has been yielded under circumstances with which this country is well aware," it said.

"It was also made clear that this government will not allow any unilateral change of the LAC. At a time when our brave soldiers are defending our borders, it is unfortunate that an unnecessary controversy is being created to lower their morale," the PMO said.

"The words of the prime minister 'those who tried to transgress our land were taught a befitting lesson by our brave sons of soil', succinctly summed up the ethos and the values of our armed forces," it said, adding Modi assured that India's armed forces will leave no stone unturned to protect the country's borders.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta