Chandigarh, June 23 : Terming the Galwan valley clash as part of a larger design on the part of China, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said India should not make the mistake of dismissing the incident as a patrol clash but should take a firm stand against any Chinese incursions into Indian territory.
The amount of build-up in the Galwan valley showed that the Chinese were working on a plan, said Amarinder, adding that India could not 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 Chinese, and this is definitely not a patrol clash,” he stressed.
Referring to the map of the area, the Chief Minister said the Chinese had reached right half way through to the Siachen Glacier after Pakistan ceded the northern part of Shaksgam Valley in PoK in 1963.
Beyond that there is an area that in any case belongs to China, he explained, adding that “there is a little gap between the glacier and the Aksai Chin area, which is the Daulat Beg Oldi gap, which they 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 (CWC) virtual meeting convened by the party”s interim President Sonia Gandhi, with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi among the participants.
The Chief Minister also cornered the Centre over its failure to support the state in its fight against Covid-19, pointing out that all that Punjab had received so far from the Centre was its own Rs 2,800 crore for January to March and just a few other grants.
He said GST dues for April to June were still pending.
Despite repeated pleas and memorandums, no help was forthcoming from the Centre to the state for tackling the Covid crisis, he said, adding that the government of India was not giving even the state”s own share.
The state had not received a single paisa of the Rs 20 lakh crore package announced by the Prime Minister, he said, noting that with the estimated shortfall of Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 crore this year, and the rest going into the Covid war, the situation for Punjab was bad.
His government was forced to manage on its own to create resources for fighting Covid, said Amarinder, adding he was sure other states were in the same unfortunate position.
“Nobody is listening to us,” he lamented, adding he had to put aside Rs 35 crore to arrange for 500 trains to send 5.63 lakh migrants back to their homes.
The Chief Minister said with 2.33 lakh of the total 2.52 lakh industries in Punjab now reopening, migrants were now also coming back to the state.
His government, he said, was trying its best to get the industry back on track with all possible facilities and easing of norms, but the units were currently working at 40 per cent capacity and would take some months to return to their full strength.
A total of 17 lakh local and migrant workers were engaged in industries currently, with more joining the farmers in the paddy operations, he said, adding that many farmers from Punjab had personally gone to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand to get the migrant labourers back.
Of the state’s 13.50 lakh migrant labourers, only 5.63 lakh had gone back while the rest had stayed back, he said, adding that while jobs were now available for them, food was still a problem.