Don't make mistake of dismissing Galwan incident as patrol clash: Punjab CM

The Galwan Valley violence is part of a larger design of China, the chief minister said, adding that the amount of build-up in the valley showed that the Chinese were working on a plan.

India should not make the mistake of dismissing the Galwan Valley incident as a patrol clash but should take a firm stand against any Chinese incursion into Indian territory, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Tuesday.

Twenty Indian soldiers, including four from the state, were killed in a violent clash with Chinese troops in the valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15.

The Galwan Valley violence is part of a larger design of China, the chief minister said, adding that the amount of build-up in the valley showed that the Chinese were working on a plan.

"India cannot afford to lose even an inch of its land in the area, which is of huge strategic importance for both sides. We have all seen clashes in our time, with Pakistan and even with the Chinese, and this is definitely not a patrol clash," Singh, a former army captain, said.

Referring to the map of the area, he said that the Chinese had reached half way through to the Siachen Glacier after Pakistan ceded the northern part of the Shaksgam Valley in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 1963.

Beyond that there is an area that in any case belongs to China, Singh said, adding that "there is a little gap between the glacier and the Aksai Chin area, which is the Daulat Beg gap, which they (the Chinese) are trying to close."

"We have to take a strong position, and we should be clear that if we lose even an inch of land we must hold them responsible," he said at the Congress Working Committee's (CWC) video conference on Tuesday, which was convened by party president Sonia Gandhi.

The chief minister also cornered the Centre over its support to the state in the fight against Covid-19, saying all that Punjab has received so far from the central government was its own Rs 2,800 crore for the January to March period, and just a few other grants.

He said that Goods and Services Tax (GST) dues for April to June were still pending.

Despite repeated pleas and memorandums, no help was forthcoming from the Centre to the state government for tackling the Covid-19 crisis, he said.

The Punjab government was forced to manage on its own to create resources for fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Singh said, adding that he was sure other states were in the same unfortunate position.

"Nobody is listening to us", he said.

Singh said that he had to put aside Rs 35 crore to arrange for 500 trains to send 5.63 lakh migrants back to their homes.

An official release quoting the chief minister said that with 2.33 lakh of the total 2.52 lakh industries in Punjab now reopened, migrants are coming back to the state.

Singh said his government was trying its best to get the industry back on track with all possible facilities and easing of norms.

Speaking of the state's economic revival plan, he said the Montek Ahulwalia committee set up to formulate the strategy was sharing its feedback with the Punjab government, which is accordingly charting the way forward.

Briefing the CWC about the Covid-19 situation in the state, Singh said sampling and testing was being continuously enhanced and a micro-containment strategy had been adopted to check the spread of the pandemic.



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