Govt briefs opposition leaders on China standoff, Kashmir
The meeting with opposition parties on India-China standoff in Doka La and the Kashmir situation comes ahead of Parliament’s monsoon session that begins Monday
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New Delhi: Ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament starting on Monday, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government on Friday briefed the opposition on the stand-off with China and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir post the terrorist attack on Amarnath pilgrims.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Arun Jaitley represented the government in the meeting, which was attended by several senior opposition leaders.
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“Senior Union ministers today afternoon briefed national political parties on the Doklam situation,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said.
“All participants expressed strong support for India’s approach and also for the need for national unity. The importance of India and China remaining engaged through diplomacy was underlined,” he added.
After the meeting, opposition leaders said they informed the government about their concerns, promised to put national security above party politics and vowed to stand united.
Among the opposition leaders who attended were Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Anand Sharma, Janata Dal-United’s Sharad Yadav and K.C. Tyagi, Communist Party of India-Marxist’s Sitaram Yechury, Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien, and Nationalist Congress Party’s Tariq Anwar.
Government spokesperson Frank Noronha said 19 parliamentarians from various parties were present at the meeting and those not called for Friday’s meeting will be called on Saturday.
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“We have cleared our position. As far as national interest and national security is concerned, it is of top priority for the Indian National Congress. There are no two questions about it. In one voice we are with the government but we have informed the government of our concerns and suggested that it find a solution through diplomacy without comprising on national interest and security,” said senior Congress leader Anand Sharma.
Yechury said that the government told them that the issue will be tackled through dialogue.
Trinamool’s O’Brien said he raised a question about the government’s preparedness and added that he didn’t get the answer he was looking for.
China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Dokalam area near the Bhutan tri-junction ever since a Chinese army’s construction party came to build a road. Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognizes as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.
Tensions have been high after the heightening of rhetoric from the Chinese side with state-run media calling for India to be taught a lesson over what Beijing has termed Indian incursions into Chinese territory. The Indian army, however has not backed down and moved 2,500 troops to the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh on 11 July.
Earlier this week, a terrorist attack on Amarnath pilgrims in the Kashmir valley killed seven and injured 19.
Anuja and Shaswati Das contributed to this story.