Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday demanded clarity from the government on the death of 20 Indian soldiers during clashes with Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, asking why Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “silent”.
“Why is the PM silent? Why is he hiding? Enough is enough. We need to know what has happened. How dare China kill our soldiers?” Gandhi tweeted.
Why is the PM silent?
Why is he hiding?
Enough is enough. We need to know what has happened.
How dare China kill our soldiers?
How dare they take our land?
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 17, 2020
The army and the minister of external affairs are yet to hold a press briefing on the violent escalation which unfolded on Monday night.
The death of 20 Indian Army personnel, including a Colonel, marks the biggest military confrontation in over five decades that has significantly escalated the already volatile border standoff between India and China.
The Indian Army initially said on Tuesday that an officer and two soldiers were killed. But in a late evening statement on Tuesday, it revised the figure to 20 saying 17 others who “were critically injured in the line of duty and exposed to sub-zero temperatures at the standoff location succumbed to their injuries”.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry officials were silent on the casualties suffered by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops, but Hu Xijin, the editor of the ruling Communist Party-run Global Times tabloid, tweeted to say that there are casualties on Chinese side too.
According to a report in the US News, at least 35 Chinese troops including one senior official died in the violent clash with Indian soldiers.
A large number of Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation in Galwan Valley and certain other areas of eastern Ladakh for the last five weeks, including in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh.
A sizeable number of Chinese Army personnel even transgressed into the Indian side of the de-facto border in several areas, including Pangong Tso.
The Indian Army has been fiercely objecting to the transgressions, and demanded their immediate withdrawal for restoration of peace and tranquillity in the area. Both sides held a series of talks in the last few days to resolve the row.
The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long LAC. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet, while India contests it.
Both sides have been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.