Ladakh face-off: Disinformation no substitute for decisive leadership: Manmohan Singh; BJP says Singh presided over 600 incursions

The Congress and the BJP on Monday engaged in a bitter verbal duel over the government’s handling of the Ladakh stand-off with China, after opposition party leader Manmohan Singh said disinformation is no substitute for decisive leadership and asked’the Prime Minister to be mindful’of the implications of his words, drawing the ire of the ruling party, which accused Singh of “abjectly surrendering” hundreds of square kilometres of India’s land to China.’ Speaking for the first time on the Ladakh stand-off, the former prime minister also called upon his successor to ensure justice for soldiers who died defending India’s territorial integrity, asserting that “to do any less would be a historic betrayal of people’s faith.” In a statement, Singh said the government’s decisions and actions will have serious bearings on how the future generations perceive us, and claimed that China is “brazenly and illegally” seeking to claim parts of Indian territory such as the Galwan Valley and the Pangong Tso Lake by committing multiple incursions since April 2020 till date.
He also said the prime minister must always be mindful of the implications of his words and declarations on our nation’s security as also strategic and territorial interests, in an apparent criticism of Narendra Modi’s remarks at an all-party meeting last week that neither is anyone inside India’s territory nor has anyone captured its posts while referring to Ladakh face-off.
The Prime Minister’s Office has already clarified Modi’s comments, and said attempts are being made to give a “mischievous interpretation”.
“We remind the Government that disinformation is no substitute for diplomacy or decisive leadership. The truth cannot be suppressed by having pliant allies spout comforting but false statements,” Singh said.
Reacting sharply to Singh’s critical remarks, the BJP launched a stinging counterattack against him and the Congress.
In a series of tweets, BJP president J P Nadda said the senior Congress leader and his party should stop “insulting” our forces repeatedly and questioning their valour.
They did this post the air strikes and surgical strikes, the BJP president said, asking the Congress to understand the true meaning of national unity, especially in such times.
“Dr Manmohan Singh belongs to the same party which: Helplessly surrendered over 43,000 KM of Indian territory to the Chinese! During the UPA years (Congress) saw abject strategic and territorial surrender without a fight. Time and again belittles our forces”, Nadda said.
He further said,”One only wishes that Dr. Singh was as worried about Chinese designs when, as PM, he abjectly surrendered hundreds of square kilometres of India’s land to China. He presided over 600 incursions made by China between 2010 to 2013!” Twenty Indian soldiers, including a colonel, were killed in the violent face-off with Chinese troops on the night of June 15/16 in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, in a biggest military confrontation between the two countries in more than 50 years.
After the BJP’s strong rebuttal, the Congress upped the ante against the Modi government, with party leader Rahul Gandhi tweeting “China killed our soldiers. China took our land. Then, why is China praising Mr Modi during this conflict.” In his tweet, Gandhi tagged a news report that said the Chinese media has lauded Prime Minister Modi’s speech during an all-party meeting on the Ladakh situation.
Earlier in another Twitter post, Gandhi shared Singh’s statement, and said the former PM has given important advice. He also hoped that Modi would accept it “politely” in the interest of the country.
Gandhi has been attacking Modi over his statement on the Ladakh standoff with China and even accused him of “surrendering” Indian territory to the neighbouring country In his statement, Singh also said this is a moment where all must stand together as a nation and be united in our response to this brazen threat.”We cannot and will not be cowed down by threats and intimidation nor permit a compromise with our territorial integrity.” “The Prime Minister cannot allow them to use his words as a vindication of their position and must ensure that all organs of the government work together to tackle this crisis and prevent it from escalating further,” he said.
Describing Singh’s statement a mere “wordplay”, Nadda said sadly, the conduct and actions of top leaders of the Congress party will not make any Indian believe such statements.
“Dr Manmohan Singh can certainly share his wisdom on many subjects but the responsibilities of the office of the Prime Minister isn’t one of them. UPA personified systematic institutional erosion of that office, combined with disrespect for our armed forces. NDA has reversed that!,” Nadda added.
Reacting to Nadda, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted “Dear Sh Nadda and the BJP, Stop compromising on ‘national security’ and India’s ‘territorial integrity’.
“This would be the biggest disservice to our Armed Forces and our 20 martyrs. Don’t buckle down, have the strength to ‘rise to the occasion’. We’ll give the government every support,” he tweeted.
“Dear Sh. Nadda, Please show the courage to ask the Modi Government about -: 2,264 Chinese transgressions since 2015. Martyrdom of 471 jawans and 253 civilians in J&K alone, highest in 30 years. 3,289 ceasefire violations by Pakistan in 2019 alone, highest in 16 years, up from 583 in 2014,” Surjewala said in another tweet.