‘Mismatch between what China says & does’
NEW DELHI, Sept 17:
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today asserted that no force in the world can stop Indian soldiers from patrolling the country’s border in Ladakh region.
Making a statement in Rajya Sabha on the situation in Eastern Ladakh, he said China has amassed troops on the border and in response India has made appropriate counter deployment.
China, he said, made “provocative military manoeuvres” on August 29/30 in an attempt to change the status quo in the South Bank area of Pangong Lake in the Ladakh region at a time when the two sides were engaged in military and diplomatic talks to de-escalate tensions.
The Defence Minister said there is a mismatch between what China says and does.
“Unki kathani aur karni alag hai (their actions are at variance with their words),” he said
The skirmishes and face-off in the last few months with China, that left 20 Indian soldiers dead and inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese sides as well, were primarily over the issue of patrolling the Ladakh border.
“No force in the world can stop Indian soldiers from patrolling. Our soldiers have sacrificed their lives only for this,” the minister said.
He was responding to a clarification sought by former Defence Minister A K Antony on the issue of Indian forces not being allowed to patrol in certain parts of the Galwan valley.
“I want to make it clear (that) skirmishes and face-off are because of this (issue of patrolling),” he said, adding the patrolling pattern is traditional and well defined.
Singh made the statement in Rajya Sabha after the Government and opposition agreed not to have a discussion on the sensitive issue.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, however, allowed members to seek a few clarifications on the statement, which was almost identical to the one Singh had made in Lok Sabha on September 15.
The Minister said India and China are yet to resolve their boundary question.
“China does not accept the customary and traditional alignment of the boundary between India and China,” he said.
“We believe that this alignment is based on well-established geographical principles confirmed by treaties and agreements, as well as historical usage and practice, well-known for centuries to both sides,” he said.
The Chinese position, however, is that the boundary between the two countries has not been formally delimited, that there exists a traditional customary line formed by the extent of jurisdiction that they claim was exercised historically by each side, and that the two sides have different interpretations of the position of the traditional customary line,” he said.
China, he said, continues to be in illegal occupation of about 38,000 square kilometers of Ladakh. Besides it also holds 5,180 sq km of Indian territory in Pakistan occupied Kashmir that Pakistan had illegally ceded in 1963.
“I would like to mention here that as yet there is no commonly delineated Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the border areas between India and China and there is no common perception of the entire LAC,” he said, adding more than two decade old agreements call for two sides to maintain minimal forces along the LAC.
On the latest situation, the minister said India has noticed a buildup of troops and armaments by China in the border areas adjacent to Eastern Ladakh since April. (PTI)