The issue with China and the growing unrest in Kashmir will be raised in the Parliament session beginning next week by opposition parties, who were on Friday briefed by the government about the situation on both the fronts.
Emerging from the meeting, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma told reporters that their party has raised some doubts before the government but made it clear that “nation is first – be it China or Kashmir”.
“There is too much of tension and that should be lowered through diplomacy. We will also raise the issue in Parliament,” both the leaders said.
Sharma said that the Congress made its view clear that national security was the priority and advised the government to rise above politics and tackle the situation diplomatically.
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said that his party raised “some serious questions” and claimed that the government had no answer to his question on preparedness for such incidents.
The opposition leaders were briefed by home minister Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, defence minister Arun Jaitley and top officials, including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, ahead of the Parliament session beginning on Monday.
The opposition leaders were told about the prevailing situation along the India-China border, in Jammu and Kashmir and the government’s action.
Others who attended the meeting — considered an effort to build consensus on dealings with India’s biggest neighbour and on Kashmir — included Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress) Sitaram Yechury (CPM), Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP), Tariq Anwar (NCP) and Sharad Yadav and KC Tyagi (JD-U).
New Delhi has expressed concern over China trying to change the status quo at the India-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in Doka La area of Sikkim.
China and India have been engaged in the standoff in the 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.
CPM General Secretary Yechury said that the government conveyed to the participants about the efforts being carried out to resolve the dispute.
Union minister Paswan said the external affairs minister and foreign secretary gave a detailed information on border issue especially in Doka La.
“Everybody promised support to the government,” he said.
On Jammu and Kashmir, government’s chief spokesman Frank Noronha said the basic purpose of the meeting was to apprise the MPs from different parties of the situation following the attack on Amarnath yatris on 10 July.
The MPs were informed that 2.2 lakh pilgrims had visited the cave shrine in2016 and this year 1.86 lakh pilgrims have already visited till Friday. The yatra will continue till 7 August.
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 — are on the boil since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on 8 July, 2016.
Opposition leaders have been criticising the government for the way it has handled China and Kashmir.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on China. On Wednesday, he accused Modi of pursuing policies that created space for terrorists in Kashmir.
He also alleged that the prime minister’s pursuit of short-term political gains through the BJP-PDP alliance in the state has cost the country dear and resulted in innocent lives being lost.