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Parliament: Opposition Walkout in RS After Rajnath Statement on India-China Troop Clash

Army thwarted Chinese attempt to change status quo in Yangtse, no casualties to Indian troops, says Defence Minister
Rajya Sabha Adjourned as Opposition Protests Suspension of 12 MPs; Walk-Out in Both Houses

Representational image. | Image Courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha after it was denied permission to seek clarifications on Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's statement on the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Tawang sector.

Congress members said there was no point in sitting inside the House if they are not given clarifications.

Members of the CPI, CPI-M, Shiv Sena, RJD, SP and JMM joined the Congress members in staging a walkout from the House.

Deputy Chairman Harivansh said since the matter was sensitive in nature, no clarifications would be allowed. He also cited several instances in the past when no clarifications were allowed in the House on sensitive issues.

"The Opposition repeatedly asked for a debate on the Chinese transgression, but the government refused to allow it. The defence minister left without giving any clarification to the House. This is not good for the nation," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters after staging the walkout.

He said there was no point sitting inside the House if the government refuses to give any clarifications.

He, however, said his party stood united with the armed forces.

Indian and Chinese troops clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9 and the face-off resulted in "minor injuries to a few personnel from both sides", the Indian Army said on Monday.

The clash near Yangtse along the LAC in the sensitive sector took place last Friday amid the over 30-month border standoff between the two sides in eastern Ladakh.

RJD MP Manoj Jha said the deputy chairman cited various precedents, but asked how one can forget the 1962 Parliament session when the Indo-China conflict was debated in the House.

"This government lives in brazen denial of the Indo-China conflict," Jha charged.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said the MPs are being denied their parliamentary privileges.

Opposition protests in LS

Earlier, Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned till 12 noon following Opposition protests over the issue of clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh.

After obituary reference were made to those who laid down their lives while foiling terror attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001, opposition members, including Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Gaurav Gogoi (both Congress), T R Baalu (DMK) and Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) raised the issue of the border clash in Arunachal Pradesh.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi responded by saying that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will make a statement on the matter at 12 noon.

However, the opposition members did not relent and continued to protest and sought immediate discussion on the issue.

While standing in their respective seats, Chowdhary demanded that there should be a discussion immediately after Singh's statement.

Gogoi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should make the statement.

Speaker Om Birla said that if the Opposition wants a discussion, it should give a notice and that would be discussed at the Business Advisory Committee and a decision would be taken accordingly.

No fatalities or serious injuries to Indian troops: Rajnath

The Indian Army bravely thwarted an attempt by the Chinese PLA from "unilaterally" changing the status quo in the Yangtse area of Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang sector on December 9, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament on Tuesday. There were no fatalities or serious injuries to Indian troops in the scuffle, he said.

In a suo motu statement in Lok Sabha, Singh also said Indian troops confronted the attempt in a "firm and resolute manner", and Chinese personnel went back to their locations due to the timely intervention of Indian commanders.

He made an identical statement in Rajya Sabha.

Singh's statement came a day after the Indian Army said troops from two sides clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang sector and the face-off led to "minor injuries to a few personnel from both sides".

"On December 9, PLA troops tried to transgress the LAC in the Yangtse area of the Tawang sector and unilaterally change the status quo. The Chinese attempt was contested by our troops in a firm and resolute manner," Singh said.

"The ensuing face off led to a physical scuffle in which the Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA from transgressing into our territory and compelled them to return to their posts," he said.

Singh said the scuffle led to injuries to a few personnel on both sides.

"I wish to share with this House that there are no fatalities or serious casualties on our side. Due to the timely intervention of Indian military commanders, PLA soldiers went back to their locations," the defence minister said.

Singh said as a follow up of the incident, the local commander of the Indian Army in the area held a flag meeting with his counterpart on December 11 to discuss the issue in accordance with established mechanisms.

"The Chinese side was asked to refrain from such actions and maintain peace and tranquillity along the border. The issue has also been taken up with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels," he said.

The Tawang incident is the first major clash between the India and the Chinese armies since August 2020 near Rinchen La in eastern Ladakh.

Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a brief face-off near Yangtse in October last year as well and it was resolved following talks between local commanders of the two sides according to established protocols.

The ties between India and China nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades. Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy weaponry.

Following the eastern Ladakh standoff, the Indian Army significantly bolstered its operational capabilities along the LAC in the eastern theatre.

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