Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today briefed leaders of 19 opposition parties on the ongoing stand-off with China at the Sikkim border and the situation in Kashmir. Leaders of prominent opposition parties including the Congress were present at the meeting that was held at Rajnath’s residence.
The meeting was also attended by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, NSA Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Union Home Secretary. Sources said that Jaishankar and Home Secretary gave two detailed presentations on the prevailing situation along the Sino-Indian border and Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources said that Jaishankar assured the opposition leaders that appropriate actions are being taken to save New Delhi’s interests.
On the Sikkim sector stand-off, the Foreign Secretary said that ‘Chinese military is in violation and that Doklam is Bhutanese territory and India is protecting Bhutan's interest’.
In his presentation, the Home Secretary said that the government ‘is taking appropriate steps to protect the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims’. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had earlier this week accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of pursuing policies that created space for terrorists in Kashmir. He had also alleged that the PM's pursuit of short-term political gains from the BJP-PDP alliance in the state has cost the country dear and resulted in innocent lives being lost.
The meeting was attended by top opposition leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Tariq Anwar (NCP), Sharad Yadav, KC Tyagi (JD-U) and Derek O'Brien (TMC).
New Delhi has expressed concern over China trying to change the status quo at the India-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in Dokalam area of Sikkim. China and India have been engaged in the standoff in the Dokalam area for the past three weeks after a Chinese Army's construction party attempted to build a road. Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.
In Jammu and Kashmir, seven pilgrims were killed by militants in Anantnag district while returning from the Amarnath cave shrine on Monday. Four districts of the state -- Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag -- have been on the boil since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016. The unrest has resumed since the April 9 bypoll to the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.
Opposition leaders have been critical of the government for its handling of the China and Kashmir issues.
“It was satisfying to see that the NDA government had finally woken up after three years to brief the opposition on the issues concerning the nation. The Congress would fully cooperate with the government on issues relating to national security,” AICC media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said.