PM urges MPs to speak in one voice to boost army’s morale2 min read . Updated: 15 Sep 2020, 07:56 AM IST
Modi’s message comes in the wake of Oppn parties demanding discussions on the standoff with China
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday sought unequivocal support from all MPs over the ongoing border dispute with China in Ladakh.
It is the responsibility of all MPs to send a clear message that people of the country are standing behind the soldiers who are at the border protecting the country, Modi said on the first day of the monsoon session of Parliament on Monday.
Modi’s message to opposition parties is important because most political parties have demanded a detailed discussion on the ongoing border dispute. They want either the defence minister or the foreign minister to make a statement on the floor of the House. The government is also likely to brief senior leaders of all prominent political parties on the developments.
“This House, particularly this session, has one crucial responsibility. Today the brave soldiers of our army are on the borders. They are defending the borders with great courage and high spirits, in difficult terrain. Rain is going to start in a few days. Just like the faith with which they are standing, determined to protect the motherland, these Houses and all the members of the House too will send out a message in a unanimous voice, spirit and resolve that the country stands in support of the Indian Army through the Houses and the MPs," Modi said.
Tensions have been running high between India and China since May when India detected multiple intrusions into Indian territory in Ladakh by Chinese troops. India sent in hundreds of thousands of its soldiers to bolster security after China moved in thousands of troops, tanks, aircraft and missile batteries to the border within its territory facing Ladakh.
Many rounds of talks at the level of senior commanders have not yielded any results. However, at a meeting of the foreign ministers of India and China last week, the two sides agreed on five points, including the need to reduce tensions.
This has brought about a temporary truce between the two sides though the Indian Army is set for the long haul and prepared to maintain its positions along the heights of five features it captured in August besides some areas around the Pangong Tso in winter, given that trust has been a casualty because of the intrusions that have taken place in violation of pacts signed over the years, according to analysts.
The monsoon session is the first session of Parliament since the outbreak of coronavirus and social distancing norms have been put in place. Modi described the situation as special and said that while there was pandemic on one hand, there was also an obligation for MPs to fulfil their duties.
During the first day of Rajya Sabha, former deputy chairman of the Upper House, Harivansh, was re-elected to the post by a voice vote for the second time, defeating Manoj Jha of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), who was a joint opposition candidate.
Key bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha, including three farm related bills that will replace ordinances promulgated earlier, including The Farmers’ Produce Trade And Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. However, opposition parties opposed the bills.
A bill that seeks to reduce for one year the salaries of MPs by 30% “to meet the exigencies" arising as a result of the covid-19 pandemic was also introduced.
Elizabeth Roche contributed to this story.