CPM, NCP and Congress wanted to know what started the stand-off.
Mulayam Singh, Sharad Pawar likely to meet Jaitley to share their experience of dealing with China.
TMC leader Derek O’Brien said government’s explanation on Amarnath attack was unconvincing.
After the government reached out to Opposition parties in the all-party meet on Friday to apprise them of what was happening at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction and the steps that the government had been taking in that regard, an unconvinced Congress has said that it will raise the issue in Parliament and called for lowering tension through diplomacy.
As many as 19 MPs from different political parties attended the meeting chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. While the Home Secretary gave a presentation on the Amarnath Yatra attack, the Foreign Secretary gave the entire background on ‘Doklam’ crisis and the border ‘face-off’ between India and China.
It is said that the purpose of this exercise was to engage the Opposition on two sensitive matters ahead of the Monsoon session but many leaders India Today spoke to remained unconvinced. The Congress has made it very clear that while ‘nation is first’, it continues to have doubts and will raise the issue in Parliament. Speaking to the media after the meeting, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma said, “There is too much tension and that should be lowered through diplomacy. We will also raise the issue in Parliament.”
While Foreign Secretary Jaishankar was quoted by some opposition members as explaining the fact that China was in violation and was changing the status quo, many such as Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), Sharad Pawar of the NCP and Anand Sharma of the Congress wanted to know what started the stand-off.
WHAT HAPPENED DURING THE MEETING
Sources tell India Today that the strategic importance and the need to engage diplomatically was explained to the members. The word ‘Siliguri’ came up five times during the govt presentation and the term ‘chicken’s neck’ was mentioned four times. The two terms that signify the fact that any movement from the Chinese to wrest control of the Doklam plateau could result in endangering the northeast of India being cut-off from the mainland.
Gopal Baglay, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said, “All participants expressed strong support for India’s approach and also for the need for national unity. Importance of India and China to remain engaged through diplomacy was underlined”.
Speaking to India Today, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said that he remained ‘unconvinced’ on the government’s explanation to the Amarnath Yatra attack and that his party stood by the government on matters of ‘national security’ on the India-China border military stand-off. “We said that on issues of national security and integrity of the country, we are with the government”, he said.
Some leaders said the overall mood was to engage diplomatically. Sources also said that while specifics did not come up, it was decided that former Defence Ministers of India Mulayam Singh and Sharad Pawar would be meeting Defence Minister Arun Jaitley separately in the coming days to discuss and share their experience in dealing with China.
Amid consensus on the prevailing border situation, there are some parties that would still be raising the matter in Parliament but insist that they would keep the sensitivity of the issue in mind while doing so.