MODI's speech at the 19 June 'all party meeting' raised more questions than it cared to answer. The only fact he accepts is the one that has sadly become incontrovertible for all: twenty Indian soldiers including a colonel have been killed in hand to hand combat with Chinese troops. Subsequently ten soldiers including four officers have been released by China, even though India never admitted that any of our soldiers were missing or captured by the Chinese side.
Modi has effectively contradicted what even the External Affairs Ministry had stated previously about Chinese incursion into the Indian side of the LAC and attempts to erect structures. His thesis of 'no intrusion, no occupation, no posts' will clearly make anyone wonder what the ongoing disengagement and de-escalation talks are all about.
Even as China is claiming sovereignty over the Galwan valley area which has been under Indian control for so long, Indian PM is rejecting the very allegation of any Chinese intrusion. Does it mean the Modi government accepts China's claims?
If there has been no violation of the LAC, why and where did our soldiers die? EAM says our soldiers carried arms but didn't fire in self-defence in compliance with norms and agreements. But Modi claims the army has been given a free hand, and knowledgeable military experts say the agreements pertain to border patrol and do not restrict us while dealing with tactical situations.
By keeping the country in the dark about the entire China-India standoff along the LAC in the Ladakh region and claiming 'all is well' even after twenty Indian soldiers sacrificed their all, several got injured and ten got released from Chinese captivity reportedly after hectic negotiations, the Modi government is landing us in a major foreign policy crisis just when the country is reeling under the twin blows of Covid19 and economic disruption and decline aggravated by the lockdown.
While the government appears to be acquiescing to the Chinese position in the military-diplomatic-political arena, the Sangh-BJP camp is trying to cover it up by raising wild allegations against the opposition parties and blaming Indian people for selling and buying Chinese goods in the name of a boycott China campaign. Such a campaign will only adversely affect millions of Indian retailers.
The fact remains that economic ties between India and China have grown remarkably since Modi became PM in 2014, making China India's biggest trading partner. Even the statue of Patel was made in China, contracts to Chinese firms continue to be awarded despite the standoff and major Indian television channels all are heavily funded by advertising from Chinese companies, not to speak of the close involvement of big Indian corporate houses with Chinese companies and capital.
It is also shameful that PM Modi has started projecting the LAC clash and the death of the Indian soldiers as a matter of pride for Bihar because the troops belonged to the 16th Battalion of Bihar Regiment. With only a few months left for Bihar elections and BJP having already launched its election campaign through Amit Shah's digital rally, it is not difficult to understand why Modi has now begun to project the Indian Army on regional lines. Colonel Santosh Babu was from Telangana and the fallen soldiers were from different states across India. The people of Bihar will feel equally concerned for the death of the soldiers regardless of the name of the regiment or the regional identity of the fallen soldiers.
We appeal to the people of India to ask for truthful answers on the questions on the Ladakh LAC standoff and India's China policy that are haunting the whole country. We urge upon the government not to keep the people in the dark about the territorial situation. The government which has always sought to suppress struggles inside India by talking of the soldiers on the border must explain how Indian soldiers were pushed into an unarmed fight leading to the sad loss of so many lives.
CPI(ML) will observe a day of mourning and respect for the fallen soldiers on 22 June.
- Central Committee, CPIML