The SAD on Sunday accused Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of “undermining” the Government of India with his statements aimed at “inflaming passions” and asked him to leave soldiering to the Army.
Following the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a violent clash with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, the CM had questioned the Centre on why no orders were given to fire at the Chinese in the face of such a brutal attack and also said the Government of India's policy should be, “if they kill one of ours, we should kill five of theirs.”
Singh had also urged the Centre to change its policy to allow soldiers at the borders to open fire in their own defence and for protecting the nation''s territorial integrity.
Shiromani Akali Dal senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder on Sunday alleged, “It was very distressing that the CM was undermining the Government of India at a crucial juncture with his statements aimed at inflaming passions and politicising an issue of national security.”
“Such statements create divisions and are likely to be exploited by our enemies at a time when four brave hearts from Punjab have also been martyred. This is unbecoming of any chief minister. We request you to let the Indian Army decide on the best tactical response needed to counter our adversaries on our borders”, Bhunder said in a statement here.
He told the Punjab CM to leave soldiering to the Army and to stand with the Central government in sending a clear cut message to the Chinese that India was one in this hour of crisis.
On the CM''s reported comments on the rules of engagement, Bhunder said the former should know that this was part of an agreement with China signed in 1996 and ratified in 2005 during the Congress-led UPA tenure.
“You seem to have overlooked this fact while talking about the need to change this policy and allow soldiers the freedom to use firearms”, said Bhunder.
Notably, both the Indian and Chinese armies had mutually decided not to resort to use firearms during face-offs in sync with provisions of two agreements on border management. The agreements were signed in 1996 and 2005.
Asking the chief minister to have patience and wait for the Union government to take appropriate decisions in the interest of the country''s unity and integrity, Bhunder claimed, “The rules of engagement were changed yesterday itself and even conveyed to China. You would appreciate the swiftness of the action and the determination of the Union government in reacting to the changed circumstances at the border.”
“The (Central) government has accordingly given complete freedom of action to commanders deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to handle situations at the tactical level,” he said.
Telling the chief minister that a lot had changed since his short tenure as Captain in the Indian Army during which period he served as an aide-de-camp (ADC), the SAD leader said the situation at the border was dynamic and no armchair commentator could hope to understand it and suggest the way forward.
“All issues of tactical responses in field areas should be strictly left to the Generals and commanding officers. No one should interfere in the functioning of the Indian Army, even a former soldier,” Bhunder said.