In an all-party meeting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened to discuss the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC), West Bengal Chief Minister said she was extending her government’s unstinted support to the Centre while, elsewhere, Tejashwi Yadav was sore because the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) was allegedly not invited to the meeting.
While sprucing up its defence preparedness, India is witnessing an urge to arrive at a political consensus for the kind of reply Chinese aggression deserves — a constraint of a democracy that the communist enemy is not bound with. On the military front, the Indian Army has told the government it is fully ready.
The meeting began with a tribute to the soldiers who laid down their lives in the line of duty.
Representatives of 17 political parties including those headed by Sonia Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Naveen Patnaik, Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar attended the meeting. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed the opposition leaders about the deployment of the army at the Galwan Valley. He said that the army was completely ready on the border.
During the meeting, Mamata Banerjee said that she was with the government for the sake of the country’s integrity. She demanded transparency in India’s ways of dealing with China.
Sources said the prime minister took questions from the opposition on the killing of 20 Indian soldiers at the Galwan Valley of eastern Ladakh. Prime Minister Modi himself has reportedly taken the opposition into confidence on the issue of the Chinese attack on unarmed soldiers, explaining why and how the situation arose.
In the all-party meeting conducted via video conferencing, the opposition welcomed the government gesture and appreciated the honouring of a “democratic tradition”.
Prime Minister Modi explained to the opposition leaders his government’s diplomatic and military efforts against China. The government appealed to all parties to “unite against China’s aggression”.
The purpose of this all-party meeting, a source in the government said, was also to project to the world “an image of unity in the nation”. “Our political differences notwithstanding, when there is a question of national interest, the whole of India is one,” the source said.
Like an angry Yadav, Sanjay Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) questioned the government, saying that AAP had a government in Delhi and was the main opposition in Punjab. “But on a vital subject, AAP’s views are not needed.”
The union government clarified that only such parties that had at least 5 MPs in the parliament had been invited to the meeting.