China-India border issue: Shashi Tharoor slams government for short statement without clarification

Shashi Tharoor, a senior congressman, lashed out at the government for not holding a debate on the India-China border issue in Parliament and said a “short statement” without clarification was undemocratic.

As Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in a statement to Parliament a day earlier, Chinese troops “unilaterally” changed the status quo in the Yangtse area of the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9. Still, the Indian Army forced them back with its “firm and resolute” response.

According to Congress, the government has been hiding the truth about the border issue.

Tharoor told reporters on Parliament grounds that making a “short statement without any clarification or listening to any questions is not democracy”.

For a while now, we’ve been saying that Parliament is where the government gets to be accountable to its people on issues like this, where the Chinese have nibbled at our LAC for five years, starting with Doklam in 2017 and going all the way up to the Tawang incident on December 9 and the Galway, Depsang, Hot Springs incidents.

Tharoor said the government should give an overview, talk to the public about what it understands and answer some questions.

You’re right; this is normal. (Then PM Jawaharlal) Nehru ji held a debate during the 1962 war with China, and he listened to 100 MPs before coming up with a concrete answer. We’re looking for constructive engagement like that,” said the MP from Thiruvananthapuram.

As for the government not sharing much information about the issue because of its sensitive nature, he rejected that too.

“We’re shocked that the government doesn’t care about democracy, holding itself accountable to the people. They don’t have to reveal anything classified, but they should clarify their thinking about Chinese misbehaviour on the LAC for five years,” Tharoor said.

After a fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020, which marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades, ties between India and China nosedived. The two sides gradually increased their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers.

In the eastern theatre, the Indian Army boosted its operational capability along the LAC after the eastern Ladakh standoff.

There’s been a big improvement in overall monitoring of the area in the last two years thanks to an effective Army surveillance system.

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