India-China border clash: Tharoor slams govt for 'small statement without clarification', calls for debate

The Congress has been demanding a discussion on the border issue and accusing the government of hiding the truth.

Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor
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PTI

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday hit out at the government for not holding a discussion in Parliament on the India-China border issue, and said giving out a "small statement" without any clarification is not democratic.

Tharoor's remarks came a day after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in a statement to Parliament, said Chinese troops tried to "unilaterally" change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Yangtse area of Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang sector on December 9, but the Indian Army compelled them to retreat with its "firm and resolute" response.

The Congress has been demanding a discussion on the border issue and accusing the government of hiding the truth.

Speaking with reporters on the Parliament premises, Tharoor said giving a "small statement without any clarification and without listening to any questions or views of others is not democracy".

"We have been saying for some time now that this is what Parliament is for, it is a forum for the government to be accountable to the people of India on a matter like this where for five years Chinese have been nibbling at our LAC, starting with Doklam in 2017 and going on till what happened on December 9 in Tawang and the incidents in Galway, Depsang, Hot Springs and so on," he said.

Tharoor said the government needs to give an overview, talk to the public about what its understanding is and answer some questions.

"This is normal. During the 1962 war with China, (then PM Jawaharlal) Nehru ji held a debate and not only that, he managed to listen to 100 speakers amongst the MPs before coming up with a concrete response. That is the kind of constructive engagement we are seeking," the MP from Thiruvananthapuram said.

He also rejected suggestions that the government cannot share much information on the issue due to its sensitive nature.

"We are shocked that the government shows no interest in democracy, in holding itself accountable to the people. No one is asking them to reveal any classified information or anything, but they certainly should be taking a position of clarifying what their overall thinking is about a pattern of five years of Chinese misbehaviour on the LAC" Tharoor said.

Ties between India and China nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades. Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy weaponry.

Following the eastern Ladakh standoff, the Indian Army significantly bolstered its operational capabilities along the LAC in the eastern theatre.

The Army put in place an effective surveillance apparatus, and there has been a substantial improvement in overall monitoring of the areas in the last two years, military officials said. 

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