Chinese actions ‘reflect a disregard of our various bilateral agreements’
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday acknowledged that the ongoing stand-off with China along the disputed boundary in Ladakh was different form the past and asserted that Indian troops inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese side in the Galwan valley clash on June 15 that left 20 Indian personnel dead.
“As of now, 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 to China’s actions, our armed forces have also made appropriate counter deployments in these areas to ensure that India’s security interests are fully protected,” Mr. Singh told the Lok Sabha.
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The amassing of troops by China went against the 1993 and 1996 agreements. Respecting and strictly observing the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was the basis of peace and tranquility in the border areas and that was explicitly recognized in the agreements, he stated.
“While our armed forces abide scrupulously by it, this has not been reciprocated by the Chinese side”. The Chinese actions on June 15 at Galwan and the attempts to alter the status quo of the south bank of the lake on August 29 and 30 “reflect a disregard of our various bilateral agreements,” he said.
Since April, a build-up of troops and armaments by the Chinese side adjacent to Eastern Ladakh was noticed. In early May, the Chinese side took action to hinder the normal, traditional patrolling pattern of Indian troops in the Galwan valley area, causing a face-off, he noted.
Even while ground commanders were discussing the issue as per the border agreements, in mid-May, the Chinese side made several attempts to transgress the LAC in other parts of the Western Sector.
Mr. Singh said that in the recent meeting with his Chinese counterpart in Moscow, he conveyed in clear terms India’s concerns related to the actions of the Chinese side, including “amassing of large number of troops, their aggressive behaviour and attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo that were in violation of the bilateral agreements.”
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“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,” he said.
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