CDS Gen Rawat deposes before parliamentary panel on defence, Sharad Pawar seeks presentation on Ladakh standoff
Sharad Pawar seeks details of India-China standoff from CDS Gen Rawat during Parl panel meet
- Sep 13, 2020
General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) appeared before a parliamentary panel on defence on Friday. This interaction comes amid a prolonged military standoff between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
The official agenda for the meeting, however, was listed as 'provision and monitoring of the quality of ration and livery items to the Defence forces, especially in border areas'.
This Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence is chaired by BJP leader Jual Oram. Members who attended the meeting on Friday included Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
This is probably the first time Rahul Gandhi is attending the committee's meeting since being nominated to the panel last year following the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
During the meeting, members asked questions over the supply of rations. Congress MP from Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi asked why there is a difference in food for jawans and officers. The CDS explained to the panel that jawans are served the same quality and quantity regardless of their station.
Differences exist in the case of food habits because soldiers prefer rotis and officers opt for bread, CDS General Rawat said adding that soldiers mostly from rural backdrops prefer desi ghee while officers may opt for cheese.
General Rawat also informed the parliamentary committee that there are regional differences in food habits such as soldiers from north preferring wheat while those from south and east preferring rice.
Sharad Pawar was the only leader who raised the issue of the India-China standoff. One source said that Pawar has sought a detailed presentation for members of the panel over the situation in Ladakh. The Ministry of Defence is likely to respond to his request.
The Indian Army and the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) have been locked in an intense standoff at multiple friction areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh since early May. Shots were fired across the LAC on Monday for the first time in 45 years with the two sides accusing each other of firing 'warning shots'.
However, the two countries claimed to have reached an agreement during talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday evening. In Moscow for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet, Jaishankar and Yi reportedly agreed to a five-point roadmap, including quick disengagement of troops.
The roadmap also mentions efforts to avoid any action that could further escalate tensions in Ladakh. Both India and China noted that the current situation in Ladakh is not in the interest of either side.
A source in the government said the Indian side strongly raised concerns about the deployment of a large number of troops and military equipment by China along the LAC. The Chinese side could not provide a credible explanation for the troops' buildup, the source added earlier on Friday.
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