Parliamentary panel briefed on Chinese incursion, Mulayam says government scared

New Delhi/Lucknow, April 26 (IANS) A parliamentary panel was Friday told that India and China were trying to resolve through existing mechanisms the row arising over incursion by Chinese troops in Ladakh area, even as Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav accused the government of showing weakness on the issue.

Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and senior defence ministry officials appeared before a parliamentary committee to give details of the incursion.

They told the panel that Chinese troops had intruded 19 km deep inside Indian territory in Depsang in Ladakh region and pitched tents. They also said that efforts are underway to ensure that the status quo is maintained, informed sources said.

Bharatiya Janata Party members Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Prakash Javadekar had demanded that members be informed of the ground situation.

Members were reported to be dissatisfied with the information provided and the officials were asked to report back at the next meeting on May 30 with requisite data and details of the situation.

Indian Army patrols had reported the presence of Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops in Depsang on April 16.

They told the panel that differences in the perception of the LAC are taken up with the Chinese side through established mechanisms like flag meetings, hotlines and diplomatic channels,

Mulayam Singh, addressing an event at the party office in Lucknow, said the government should chase the Chinese troops away. “They (Chinese troops) have entered 10-20 km inside our territory… instead of talking to China, which is a betrayer, the intruders should be chased away,” he said.

“The country is in crisis. There is unemployment, price rise and corruption. And now, danger is looming large at the borders. Why is the government afraid? India is China’s target. I have been warning for the past eight years. What were our intelligence agencies and foreign minister doing?” he said.

“The government does not have the courage to force China back. Now I have heard some minister is going for talks with folded hands to request China to leave Indian teritory… . The Indian Army is not weak. I cannot understand why the Indian government is hesitant to act,” he said.

Mulayam Singh said he has been invited by the central government to discuss the incursion issue.

The Chinese government said Friday it believed both countries had the “capacity and wisdom” to defuse the row.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters both countries had maintained “close communication” over issues regarding the boundary, adding that China believed problems could be solved through “friendly consultation.

Hua said “I want stress once again two countries maintained close communication on border issues and both countries had the willingness to properly resolve the relevant issue through dialogue and negotiation.”

“We also believe that the two countries had the capacity and wisdom to solve the issue through friendly consultation so as to maintain peace and stability in the border areas,” she said.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who is to visit Beijing May 9, said Thursday that both countries have a working mechanism to deal with such issues and expressed confidence that New Delhi and Beijing would be able to resolve the row.

Indian and Chinese military commanders had Tuesday held a second flag meeting to resolve the stand-off.

India has asked China to maintain the status quo that existed before the intrusion.

Khurshid’s trip comes ahead Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India in the third week of May.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony had been briefed by Indian Army chief Gen. Bikram Singh about the situation.

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