New Delhi, Sept 16: In a strong warning, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament, Indian armed forces have made adequate counter deployments in response to China as it had side has mobilized a large number of troops and armaments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). He also said that attempting to unilaterally alter the status quo is "unacceptable".
Firstly, speaking about the development of eastern borders in Ladakh, he gave details about the boundary issue with China. He said, "China continues to be in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 sq. kms 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. kms. of Indian territory in the Eastern Sector of the India-China boundary in Arunachal Pradesh."
India had witnessed major developments along the LAC. Speaking about this to the House, he said, "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."
Though there were high level-talks 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 thwarted early and consequently responded to appropriately by Indian Army. "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.
The boundary being a complex issue, he said, both the countries have to come to terms that in order to ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas, especially along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), "the two countries have concluded a number of agreements and protocols."
Mentioning key principles to maintain peace and tranguility, he said, "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 much 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.
Following the attempts to break the protocols by China, he said, "The Chinese actions reflect a disregard of our various bilateral agreements. The amassing of the troops by China goes against the 1993 and 1996 Agreements. Respecting and strictly observing the LAC is the basis for peace and tranquility in the border areas and explicitly recognized 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. In recent incidents, this year, the violent conduct of Chinese forces has been in complete violation of all mutually agreed norms".
Further, he added that current scenario in eastern Ladakh. He said that the Chinese side has mobilized 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 to China’s actions, the Indian armed forces have also made appropriate counter deployments in these areas to ensure that India’s security interests are fully protected.
In order to resolve the current issues through peaceful dialogue and consultations, he had met his Chinese counterpart on September 4 in Moscow during the SCO meet and had an in-depth discussion with him. In his address, he said, "had conveyed in clear terms our concerns related to the actions of the Chinese side, including amassing of large number of troops, their aggressive behavior and attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo that were in violation of the bilateral agreements".
Also, the Minister asserted that he made it clear that even as India wanted to peacefully resolve the issue and would like the Chinese side to work with India. "There should also be no doubt about our determination to protect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity." He also spoke about the meeting of External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, with Chinese Foreign Minister in Moscow on September 10. He said, "The two have reached an agreement that, if implemented sincerely and faithfully by the Chinese side, could lead to complete disengagement and restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas."
Addressing the House, he firmly said, "I will not hesitate to share with this august House that we are facing a challenge in Ladakh and I urge the House to pass a resolution in support of our Armed Forces who have been defending our motherland at great heights and most inclement weather conditions in Ladakh for our safety and security." He also appealed to the House that it has to "come together and reiterate confidence and faith in the velour of the brave armed forces and support them in the mission that they have undertaken to protect the territorial integrity of our motherland".
He added, "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."