Govt Unlikely to Discuss China Border Standoff During Parliament Session

File image of Parliament.

File image of Parliament.

However, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh would be asked to make a statement before both Houses if opposition parties insist on discussing the issue, said sources.

  • CNN-News18 New Delhi
  • Last Updated: September 13, 2020, 10:25 AM IST


The Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning Monday is expected to be a stormy affair. While the government would like to keep its legislative business, including the passage of 11 ordinances on priority, opposition parties would want to corner it on key issues like management of the coronavirus pandemic, falling GDP numbers and the state of economy as well as the border stand-off with China.

The mood has been set with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi constantly tweeting about how the nation needs to know what is happening on the border. Congress Lok Sabha floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary has also requested the government to apprise the Parliament on the development. NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Friday said the government must keep Parliament in the know of developments at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Several opposition MPs have given notices in both Houses demanding a discussion on the issue.

However, top sources in the government said a discussion on the India-China face-off is unlikely to be allowed soon.

A senior Union minister aware of the developments said, “Our government has never run away from any debate or discussion. But these are sensitive matters concerning the nation. Strategic issues concerning national security and integrity are not discussed openly.”

Sources said that when the matter will be raised in Sunday’s Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting, the government is likely to tell the opposition there is a lot of development likely to take place with regard to China in the next week or so, and that if they still insist, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh would be asked to make a statement before both Houses.

“The Opposition has been in power for long, especially the Congress,” another Cabinet minister told CNN-News18. “We would expect them to keep politics out of such a matter. We need to stand by our forces right now.”

Before every session of Parliament, both the government as well as the Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman hold an all-party meeting to set expectations. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, those meetings have been cancelled and all matters will be at the the BAC.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a bilateral meeting with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on Thursday amid a massive spike in border tensions in eastern Ladakh, and will brief the political leadership once he is back from Russia.

Sources said Jaishankar in the meeting stressed on the need to maintain peace and tranquillity in the region, reiterating that Indian forces never tried to change the status quo ante along the LAC.

The Indian Army has bolstered its dominance over a number of strategic heights overlooking key Chinese-held positions around Pangong lake area in eastern Ladakh even as brigade commanders and commanding officers of the two militaries continue to hold separate talks to cool tensions in the region.

Tension escalated again in eastern Ladakh following fresh face-offs between Indian and Chinese troops in Mukhpari area of Rezang-La ridgeline on Monday evening. The Indian Army the next day said Chinese troops attempted to close in on an Indian position near the southern bank of Pangong lake and fired shots in the air, a first such instance of bullets being used along the LAC after a gap of 45 years.

The Army’s statement had come after the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) alleged that Indian troops crossed the LAC and “outrageously fired” warning shots near the Pangong lake. The incident of Monday evening was considered serious as the previous instance of shots being fired at the de-facto border was in 1975. Provisions of an agreement of 1996 and another signed in 2005 mandate the two sides not to use firearms during any confrontation.

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