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PM says Parliament should speak in one voice on soldiers defending borders

With the Opposition keen on debating the Indo-China border issue in eastern Ladakh in the monsoon session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed the hope and confidence that Parliament will speak in an unanimous voice and send a strong message that the nation is unitedly backing the armed forces even as the presiding officers of the two Houses have assured that the matter will be taken up for discussion.

In his customary remarks to the media before the commencement of the monsoon session on Monday, Modi said it is the legislature's “crucial responsibility” to speak in one voice on this issue. Though he did not mention the border stand-off, the PM said brave Indian soldiers are defending the borders with great courage and high spirits in difficult hilly terrains with snowfall expected in some time.

“This Parliament, particularly in this session, has one more crucial responsibility... Just like the faith with which they (soldiers) are standing, determined to protect the motherland, Parliament and all its members too will send out a message in a unanimous voice, spirit and resolve that the country stands in support of them,” Modi said, adding, “The entire Parliament stands with the brave soldiers of the country with one voice. I believe that Parliament and all its members will give out a very strong message.”

Congress has led the opposition in criticising the Prime Minister and the NDA government on the Indo-China border stand-off that led to the death of 19 Indian soldiers and a Colonel. The opposition has also alleged that government and the media had tried to divert attention from this issue.

Later, when the Lok Sabha met in the first half of the day, Leader of the Congress legislature party Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised the China border issue and said the neighbouring country has occupied 1000 square kilometres of Indian territory. He also said there are reports that China is “watching” the President of India and other important people by monitoring them through technology.

Speaker Om Birla advised Chowdhury to be “responsible” as this is a sensitive issue. He assured the House that the border stand-off will be taken up for discussion during the session. Rajya Sabha is also likely to hold a short duration discussion on the matter.

Talking to the media, the Prime Minister noted that Parliament is expected to take up many important discussions and decide on key issues and hoped MPs will do “value addition” to debates.

“It is our experience that the more deep and diverse debate happens in Parliament, the more benefits it brings to the subject of discussion and the country,” he said.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread across the country, the prime minister observed that the session is taking place under special circumstances and asserted that MPs have chosen the path of duty.

“There is a corona pandemic on one hand while our obligation towards fulfilling our duties on the other; and all the MPs have chosen the path of duty. I congratulate and thank all the MPs for this initiative,” he said.

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