New Delhi: (Defence News) "China continues to be in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 sq km in the Union Territory of Ladakh. In addition, under the so-called Sino-Pakistan 'Boundary Agreement' of 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq km of Indian territory in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to China. China also claims approximately 90,000 sq km of Indian territory in the Eastern Sector of the India-China boundary in Arunachal Pradesh" said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speaking in the Rajya Sabha giving a clearer picture of what is the state of India-China border tensions.
"Since April, we had noticed a buildup of troops and armaments by the Chinese side in the border areas adjacent to Eastern Ladakh. In early May, the Chinese side had taken action to hinder the normal, traditional patrolling pattern of our troops in the Galwan Valley area, which resulted in a face-off. Even as this situation was being addressed by the Ground Commanders as per the provisions of our bilateral agreements and protocol, in mid-May the Chinese side made several attempts to transgress the LAC in other parts of the Western Sector. This included Kongka La, Gogra and North Bank of Pangong Lake. These attempts were detected early and consequently responded to appropriately by our armed forces" Singh said apprising the house of the beginning of India-China standoff. "We made it clear to the Chinese side both through diplomatic and military channels that China was, by such actions, attempting to unilaterally alter the status quo. It was categorically conveyed that this was unacceptable" he added.
"Given the growing friction along the LAC, the Senior Commanders of the two sides in a meeting on June 6, 2020, agreed on a process of disengagement that involved reciprocal actions. Both sides also agreed to respect and abide by the LAC and not undertake any activity to alter the status quo. However, in violation of this, the Chinese side created a violent face-off on June 15th at Galwan. Our brave soldiers laid down their lives and also inflicted costs including casualties on the Chinese side" the defence minister said blaming China of retracting from the agreement. "While no one should doubt our determination to safeguard our borders, India believes that mutual respect and mutual sensitivity are the basis for peaceful relations with neighbours," Rajnath said.
"I met my Chinese counterpart on 4th September in Moscow and had a detailed discussion regarding the current situation with him. I conveyed in clear terms our concerns related to the actions of the Chinese side, including amassing of a large number of troops, their aggressive behaviour and attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo that were in violation of the bilateral agreements. I also made it clear that even as we wanted to peacefully resolve the issue and would like the Chinese side to work with us, there should also be no doubt about our determination to protect India's sovereignty and territorial integrity. My colleague, S. Jai Shankar, the External Affairs Minister, has thereafter met the Chinese Foreign Minister in Moscow on 10th September. The two have reached an agreement, which, if implemented sincerely and faithfully by the Chinese side, could lead to complete disengagement and restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas" he said giving a complete picture of the SCO meet in Russia.
Assuring the house Rajnath Singh said that the morale and motivation of our Armed Forces are very high, and our soldiers are committed to overcoming any challenge that may come in their way. This time also, our soldiers have chosen patience and courage over aggression. "Special warm clothes, special tent for their living and adequate arrangement of all their weapons and ammunition have been made for them suitable to the extreme weather conditions" the defence minister mentioned.
"It is true that we are facing a challenge in Ladakh, but I am confident that our country and our brave soldiers will be able to surmount every challenge", the minister concluded.
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