LEH: Reiterating Modi government’s position on areas of Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control, Union home minister Amit Shah has said that India has ‘not lost out on any territory’ in the months-long military standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha on the last day of the budget session, Shah referred to 2020 clashes between the armies of India and China in eastern Ladakh, and said, “China tried to do what it did in 1962.”
“But our leadership displayed resolve and not an inch of India’s land was lost,” he said, reiterating government’s stance on not conceding any land to China in Ladakh, even as the opposition leaders have frequently attacked the Centre for ‘letting China acquire Indian territory in Ladakh’ ever since the clashes took place.
New Delhi has maintained the complete withdrawal of Chinese troops from all points of conflict is necessary to maintain peace and tranquility along the disputed border.
The face-off, which began in late April-May 2020, led to a bloody clash in the Galwan Valley on the night of June 15, that led to casualties on both sides.
It was the first time in more than 40 years that lives were lost in a border skirmish along the LAC. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in action.
China initially didn’t disclose the number of casualties sustained by its troops, officially admitting only in February 2021 that four of its soldiers were killed while one was injured.
However, it is believed that the number of actual Chinese casualties is higher.
The Home Minister also said that the BJP will get 370 seats and the NDA more than 400 in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and form the government for a third consecutive term under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Shah asserted that there is no suspense over the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls and even the Congress and other opposition parties have realised that they will again have to sit in the opposition benches.
“We have abrogated Article 370 (of the Constitution, which gave a special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir). So we believe that the people of the country will bless the BJP with 370 seats and the NDA with over 400 seats,” Shah said at the ET NOW Global Business Summit 2024 on Saturday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a similar prediction about winning a third consecutive term a few days back while speaking in Lok Sabha.
Shah said the 2024 polls will not be an election between the NDA and the INDI opposition bloc, but between those who deliver on the promise of development and a bright future and those who give mere slogans and represent hopelessness.
Asked about the Bharat Jodo Yatra of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, he said the Nehru-Gandhi scion has no right to go ahead with such a march as his party was responsible for the country’s partition in 1947.
Now, he said, again some people of the Congress are talking about the division of the country (South India -North India) and the party is not even distancing itself from such statements.
On the timing of a white paper tabled by the government in Parliament, Shah said it was necessary as the country has full right to know what mess the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) left behind when it lost power in 2014.
“At that time (2014), the economy was in a bad shape. There were scams everywhere. Foreign investment was not coming. Had we released a white paper at that time, it would have given a wrong message to the world.
“But after 10 years, our government has revived the economy, brought foreign investment and there is no corruption at all. So it is the right time to publish the white paper,” he said.
The home minister said the Congress was scared that their scams since 1948 would come out in the open in the white paper.
He claimed that during the two terms of the previous UPA government, there were scams to the tune of Rs 12 lakh crore.
On the CAA, Shah said the law, enacted in 2019, will be implemented before the Lok Sabha polls after issuing the rules in this regard.
“Our Muslim brothers are being misled and instigated (against the CAA). The CAA is only meant to give citizenship to those who came to India after facing religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It is not for snatching anyone’s Indian citizenship,” he said.
To a query on a Uniform Civil Code, Shah said it is a constitutional agenda, signed by the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and others.
“But the Congress had ignored it due to appeasement. The enforcement of the UCC in Uttarakhand is a social change. It will be discussed on all forums and face legal scrutiny.
“A secular country cannot have religion-based civil codes,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), headed by Jayant Choudhary, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and some other regional parties joining the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the home minister said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) “believes in family planning but not in politics”, giving an indication that more parties may join the ruling coalition.
When pressed further on the SAD, he said, “Talks are going on but nothing has been finalised.”