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‘Subjugation and surrender’: Military veterans slam Modi government’s continuing silence on Galwan

'The so-called nationalist government is maintaining silence on an issue concerning India’s sovereignty'

Imran Ahmed Siddiqui New Delhi Published 16.06.23, 06:14 AM
Xi with Modi in Ahmedabadin 2014.

Xi with Modi in Ahmedabadin 2014. PTI picture

The Narendra Modi government’s continuing silence on the restoration of status quo ante in eastern Ladakh, three years to the day 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley in a clash with Chinese troops, reeks of “subjugation” and “surrender” before the Chinese, military veterans said on Thursday.

“The Modi government has soldiers’ blood on its hands, and it’s been three years since then, but the government has failed to restore status quo ante (to positions held before the Chinese incursions of May 2020),” a former lieutenant-general told The Telegraph.


“The so-called nationalist government is maintaining silence on an issue concerning India’s sovereignty. What happened to the ‘56-inch chest’ claim (by Modi)?”

The Chinese are estimated to have taken over close to 2,000sqkm of India-claimed territory in eastern Ladakh since May 2020.

Four days after the Galwan Valley clash of June 15, 2020, Modi had said that no one had entered or occupied Indian territory, allowing China to deny any incursions and claim ownership of all the territory it held in Ladakh.

The retired lieutenant-general accused the Modi government of doublespeak on the Chinese intrusions, saying this had now become a “national embarrassment”.

“The government has not publicly acknowledged the Chinese intrusion even after three years and at the same time it is engaging with them diplomatically and holding military talks for disengagement from India-claimed territory, belying Modi’s no-intrusion claim,” the retired lieutenant-general said.

Military veterans have long underscored that the silence of the joint statements, issued after military talks, on any Indian demand for the restoration of status quo ante suggested a Chinese plan to establish a new status quo along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. They have accused the Indian side of failing to push for a restoration of status quo vigorously enough, and said this reflects a capitulation to the Chinese.

Sushant Singh, a defence analyst, said: “It (the Modi government) is unable to demand the bare minimum, and lacks the political will for a quid pro quo operation.”

In a series of tweets, he said: “Keeping Indians in the dark about the situation on the LAC is not just undemocratic and evades accountability of political/ military decision-making, it also has given foreign powers great leverage over you as they know what information, if placed in public, will embarrass you.

“The buck stops with the top. And if a border crisis has been on for three years, where India has lost control of 2,000sqkm of territory with no plans visible for regaining control, there is no one else who can take the blame.”

A retired major general said the government was continuing to hoodwink Indians for domestic political gain by sticking to the “no-intrusion claim”.

He referred to external affairs minister S. Jaishankar’s recent statement that the issue with the Chinese was not about “territory”. Replying to a question whether China had occupied Indian territory in Ladakh, Jaishankar had said: “Issue is not about territory; issue is of forward deployment. Both armies are standing very close to each other. And this could lead to violence the way it did in Galwan.”

The retired major general said: “The government seems to be no longer demanding restoration of status quo. It has replaced this with ‘restoration of peace and tranquillity’. What we are witnessing is a complete subjugation of the government by China. It seems the government has surrendered to the Chinese attempt to alter the status quo in the region.”

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