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India ready to deal with all contingencies on China border, says Rajnath Singh

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 15, 2020 Published on September 15, 2020

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speaks in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament in New Delhi on Tuesday   -  PTI

China has continued to transgress despite talks to resolve the issue: Defence Minister

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday told Parliament that India is prepared to “deal with all contingencies” of an unprecedented stand-off with China at the Ladakh border while it remains committed to a peaceful resolution.

Making a statement in the Lok Sabha, the Defence Minister said while there have been prolonged stand-offs with China in the past, the situation this year is different both in terms of scale of troops involved and the number of friction points.

The Defence Minister told the House that since April, there has been a build-up of troops and armaments by the Chinese side in the border areas adjacent to Eastern Ladakh. In early May, the Chinese side interfered with traditional patrolling pattern of Indian troops in the Galwan Valley area, which resulted in a face-off. 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, said the Minister,.

“In the past too we have had situations of prolonged stand-offs in our border areas with China which have been resolved peacefully. Even though the situation this year is very different both in terms of scale of troops involved and the number of friction points, we do remain committed to the peaceful resolution of the current situation. At the same time, the House can be assured that we remain prepared to deal with all contingencies,” said the Defence Minister, urging the House to unitedly pass a resolution in honour of the soldiers at the front as the martyrs including Colonel Santosh Babu, along with 19 soldiers who have died in the ongoing face-off.

“These attempts were detected early and consequently responded to appropriately by our Armed Forces. 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.”

Friction areas

The ground situation is, according to the Minister, that the Chinese side has mobilised a large number of troops and armaments along the LAC as well as in the depth areas. There are several friction areas in Eastern Ladakh including Gogra, Kongka La and North and South Banks of the Pangong Lake. In response, Indian Armed Forces have made appropriate counter deployments in these areas to ensure that India’s security interests are fully protected.

“The House should have full confidence that our armed forces will always rise to the challenge and do us all proud. This is still an ongoing situation and obviously involves sensitive operational issues. I would, therefore, not be able to give more details in public and I am confident about the understanding of the House in this regard,” said Rajnath Singh.

Key principles

“As we want to resolve the current situation through dialogue, we have maintained diplomatic and military engagement with the Chinese side. In these discussions, we have maintained the three key principles that, determine our approach: (i) both sides should strictly respect and observe the LAC; (ii) neither side should attempt to alter the status quo unilaterally; and (iii) all agreements and understandings between the two sides must be fully abided by in their entirety. The Chinese side, on its part, took the position that the situation should be handled in a responsible manner and ensure peace and tranquility as per bilateral agreements and protocol,” said the Minister.

However, he said, even while these discussions were going on, the Chinese side again engaged in provocative military maneuvers on the night of August 29-30 in an attempt to change the status quo in the South Bank area of Pangong Lake.

“As is clear from these events, the Chinese actions reflect a disregard of our bilateral agreements. The amassing of the troops by China goes against the 1993 and 1996 Agreements. Respecting and strictly observing the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the basis for peace in the border areas and explicitly recognised in both 1993 and 1996 agreements. While our armed forces abide scrupulously by it, this has not been reciprocated by the Chinese side. Their actions have led to face-offs and frictions from time to time along the LAC. As I mentioned earlier, the agreements have detailed procedures and norms to deal with the situation of face-offs. However, in the recent incidents, this year, the violent conduct of Chinese forces has been in complete violation of all mutually agreed norms,” said the Minister.

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Published on September 15, 2020
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