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Rahul Gandhi makes first appearance at defence panel meet

New Delhi,  Amid the India-China faceoff, Congress former President Rahul Gandhi for the first time attended the meeting of the Standing Committee on Defence on Friday.

Rahul Gandhi has been a vocal critic of the government policy on China. After being criticised by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for not attending the meetings, this was the Congress leader’s first appearance since he was nominated to the Committee.

Rahul Gandhi in a tweet said, “The only ‘talk’ to have with China is about restoration of ‘Status Quo Ante’ as of March 2020. PM & GOI refuse to take responsibility for pushing China out of our land. All other ‘talk’ is worthless.”

Gandhi had slammed the government’s China policy. “The Chinese have taken our land. When exactly is GOI planning to get it back? Or is that also going to be left to an ‘Act of God’?”

Sources said in the meeting NCP leader Sharad Pawar sought a detailed presentation by the government on the India-China faceoff at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat also attended the meeting.

The BJP had criticised Rahul Gandhi for not attending the panel meetings.

Meanwhile, the military representatives of India and China met on Friday to ease the tensions at the border where both countries’ troops are only metres apart, ready to take on each other.

The military delegates talks have been taking place continuously since September 7 when the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) tried to occupy Indian territory at the LAC in eastern Ladakh and it was thwarted by the Indian Army.

India then took pre-emptive action to occupy Rezang La, Rechen La, Blacktop, Goswami Hill and some other heights near Chushul to thwart the Chinese army.

The Chinese have made multiple attempts to dislodge the Indian troops from the mountain heights.

The Brigade Commander level meeting is happening in Chushul and has remained inconclusive so far. A senior Indian Army officer said that the talks will eventually ease tensions but it is a tedious process.

In Delhi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a crucial meeting with Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval along with the service chiefs on the LAC situation.

Hindi Website