When asked if opposition MPs would be allowed to seek a clarification on the defence minister’s statement, Rajnath Singh said it would be up to the Chair to decide.
- Last Updated: September 17, 2020, 12:00 AM IST
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Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will make a statement in Rajya Sabha at noon on Thursday on the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. An all-party informal meeting, convened on Wednesday to decide on the agenda of Parliament for the coming week, was apprised of this development.
Singh’s statement will come two days after his address in the Lok Sabha on the same issue.
The government at the all-party meet was represented by Singh, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, Leader of the House Thawarchand Gehlot and ministers Piyush Goyal, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muraleedharan.
From the opposition bench, the Congress was represented by Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma. The other leaders present were Tiruchi Siva from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Derek O’Brien from the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Ram Gopal Yadav from the Samajwadi Party, and K Keshava Rao from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
When asked if opposition MPs would be allowed to seek a clarification on Singh’s statement as per rules, he told reporters that the decision lies with the Chair. Singh added that the statement would be an updated one.
Azad, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, who left the meeting early, told CNN-News18 it was not a meeting on China. “Bills are being discussed. We had asked the government to agree to send some bills for scrutiny. It was just a meeting on that. Singh attended the meeting as Deputy Leader of the Lok Sabha and not as Defence Minister.”
Joshi later said further discussion with Opposition leaders would be held to ensure smooth conduct of business. The government has listed 45 bills and 11 ordinances for passage in this session. During a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) on Sunday, opposition MPs had asked the government to hold an informal meeting to see what bills can be sent for parliamentary scrutiny.
Briefing the Parliament about the ongoing standoff between the two militaries in Ladakh, Singh on Tuesday had said that the Indian Army has repeatedly foiled China’s attempts to change the status quo at the LAC and that Indian forces are fully geared and “prepared to deal with all contingencies”.
Singh had also spoken about “in-depth discussion” with his Chinese counterpart on September 4 in Moscow, saying he had “conveyed in clear terms our concerns related to the actions of the Chinese side, including amassing of large number of troops, their aggressive behaviour and attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo that were in violation of the bilateral agreements”.