Modi calls all-party meeting on border crisis with China
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called an all-party meeting on Friday to discuss the situation at the India-China border after clashes in Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
Presidents of various political parties will participate in the meeting at 5 pm on Friday via video, the Indian Prime Minister's Office said.
Narendra Modi said the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers in clashes with Chinese troops on border "will not be in vain".
"I would like to assure the country that the sacrifice of our soldiers will not be in vain. For us, the unity and integrity of the country is the most important... India wants peace but is capable of giving a reply if provoked," Modi said in a televised address on day two of the virtual conference with chief ministers on coronavirus.
Modi said India has always tried that differences do not become disputes. Later, the Prime Minister and those attending the meeting observed silence of a few minutes as a mark of respect for the slain soldiers.
“In order to discuss the situation in the India-China border areas, Prime Minister @narendramodi has called for an all-party meeting at 5 PM on 19th June. Presidents of various political parties would take part in this virtual meeting,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted later.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched a sharp attack on Modi in a tweet Wednesday morning, questioning why he hadn't spoken on the huge incident till now. "Why is the PM silent? Why is he hiding? Enough is enough. We need to know what has happened. How dare China kill our soldiers? How dare they take our land?" Gandhi had tweeted. He also posted a video paying tribute to the Indian soldiers who died in the line of duty and asked PM Modi to "come out" and "tell the truth".
While the Congress has been the loudest in its attacks, other parties like Shiv Sena, Trinamool Congress and Janata Dal Secular have also targeted the BJP government.
"When will China get a strong reply? 20 soldiers were killed without a shot being fired. What have we done," tweeted Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra wondered whether it would be anti-national to seek answers from the government. "Incredible how BJP won 2019 by tom-tomming 'surgical strikes' of which we never saw any actual proof and now that 20 real faces of our dead soldiers stare at us, the PM is silent," Ms Moitra tweeted.
EU asks India, China to talk
Virginie Battu-Henriksson, the European Union spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy, has called the India-China border tension a "worrying development" and urged the two Asian nuclear powers to "show restraint and engage in military de-escalation".
"This is crucial for building trust and reaching a peaceful solution which is essential to preserving peace and stability in the region," she said.
India, China FMs discuss border clash
The foreign ministers of China and India have held telephone talks over the deadly border clash, agreeing to "cool down" tensions as soon as possible, Beijing said.
Both sides agreed to "deal fairly" with the events in the Galwan Valley and maintain peace in border areas, China's foreign ministry said.
Russia welcomes contacts
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow welcomes the contacts between its close allies India and China after a deadly border confrontation.
Lavrov said at a press conference that "it's already been announced that military representatives of India and China have been in contact, they are discussing the situation, discussing measures for its de-escalation. We welcome that."
Russian President Vladimir Putin has close ties with both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian premier Narendra Modi, who has talked of a "special chemistry" with the Russian strongman.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists: "Both China and India are very close partners for us, allies." "We are paying close attention to what is happening on the China-India border."