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LAC: China has mobilized large numbers of troops and armaments along the LAC: Rajnath



NEW DELHI: Making a statement on the situation in eastern Ladakh on the Rajya Sabha floor, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said India wants a peaceful solution to the border issue but will not back down from any action required to protect sovereignty of the country. Here are the highlights of his outspoken statement:

  • As the House is aware, India and China are yet to resolve their border issue. China does not accept the customary and traditional extension of the border between India and China. We believe that this extension is based on well-established geographical principles confirmed by treaties and agreements, as well as historical usage and practice, recognized for centuries by both parties. The Chinese position, however, is that the border between the two countries has not been formally defined, that there is a traditional customary line formed by the extent of jurisdiction that they claim was historically exercised by each side, and that both sides have different interpretations of traditional customary line. Both countries were involved in discussions during the 1950s-60s but these efforts could not provide an acceptable solution by both countries.
  • As the House is aware, China continues to be in the illegal occupation of about 38,000 square kilometers in the territory of the Ladakh Union. Moreover, under the so-called Sino-Pakistan ‘Border Agreement’ of 1963, Pakistan illegally released 5,180 sq km. of Indian territory in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in China. China also claims approximately 90,000 square kilometers. of Indian territory in the Eastern Sector of the India-China border at Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Both India and China have formally agreed that the border issue is a complex issue that requires patience and are committed to seeking a just, reasonable and acceptable solution by both sides through dialogue and peaceful negotiations. In the meantime, both sides also agree that maintaining peace and tranquility in border areas is an essential basis for the further development of bilateral relations.
  • I would like to mention here that there is still no Current Control Line (LAC) commonly described in the border areas between India and China and there is no common perception for the whole LAC. Therefore, in order to ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas, especially along the Current Control Line (LAC), the two countries have concluded a number of agreements and protocols.
  • Under these agreements, both parties have agreed to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC without any effect on their respective positions in the LAC approximation as well as on the border issue. On this basis, our overall relations have also seen considerable progress since 1988. India’s position is that while bilateral relations can continue to develop in parallel with discussions on resolving the border issue, any serious concerns in peace and tranquility throughout LACs in border areas will have implications for the positive direction of our connections.
  • A key element of both the 1993 and 1996 Agreements is that both sides will keep their military forces in areas along the current control line at a minimum. These agreements also stipulate that in anticipation of a final settlement of the border issue, both parties must adhere to and strictly adhere to the Current Line of Control.
  • Moreover, in these agreements, India and China also committed to clarifying and confirming the Current Control Line to reach a common understanding of alignment. Thus, in the late 1990s and until 2003, both sides engaged in a drill to clarify and confirm the LAC. But after that the Chinese side did not show readiness to follow the LAC clarification exercise. As a result, there are several areas where Chinese and Indian perceptions of LAC overlap. In these areas, as well as with other parts of the border areas, various agreements regulate the way in which the troops of both sides must act and deal with confrontational situations to maintain peace and tranquility.
  • Before assessing the House of Current Developments, let me inform you that the Government has a coordinated mechanism elaborated and tested in time between the various intelligence agencies, including the intelligence units of the Central Police Force and the three forces of the armed. Technical and human intelligence is constantly gathered in a well-coordinated manner. It is shared with the armed forces which assist them in making decisions.
  • Let me rate the House of Developments this year. Since April, we had observed an accumulation of troops and weapons from the Chinese side in the border areas adjacent to Eastern Ladakh. In early May, the Chinese side had taken action to thwart the normal, traditional pattern of patrolling our troops in the Galwan Valley area, which resulted in a confrontation. Even when this situation was being handled by the Ground Commanders according to the provisions of our bilateral agreements and protocol, in mid-May the Chinese side made several attempts to violate the LAC in other parts of the western sector. This included Kongka La, Gogra and the North Bank of Pangong Lake. These efforts were discovered early and consequently responded appropriately by our armed forces.
  • We made it clear to the Chinese side both through diplomatic and military channels that China was trying, by such actions, to unilaterally change the status quo. It was categorically conveyed that this was unacceptable.
  • Given the growing friction along the LAC, the Senior Commanders of both sides at a meeting on 6 June 2020 agreed on a secession process involving reciprocal action. Both sides also agreed to respect and adhere to the LAC and not take any action to change the status quo. However in violation of this the Chinese side created a violent face on June 15 in Galwan. Our brave soldiers gave their lives and also incurred costs including casualties on the Chinese side.
  • While no one should doubt our determination to protect our borders, India believes that mutual respect and mutual empathy are the basis for peaceful relations with neighbors. While 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 define our approach: (i) both parties must strictly adhere to and adhere to the LAC; (ii) neither party should attempt to change the status quo unilaterally; and (iii) all agreements and understandings between the two parties must be fully respected in their entirety.
  • The Chinese side, for its part, took the position that the situation should be handled responsibly and ensure peace and tranquility according to bilateral agreements and protocol. However, from Chinese activities it is clear that their words do not match their actions. An important case is that even as discussions were ongoing, the Chinese side again engaged in provocative military maneuvers on the night of 29 and 30 August in an attempt to change the status quo in the South Coast area of ​​Lake Pangong. But again, timely and decisive action by our armed forces along the LAC prevented such efforts from succeeding.
  • As is clear from these events, the Chinese actions reflect a disregard for our various bilateral agreements. The troop gathering from China runs counter to the 1993 and 1996 Agreements. Strict adherence to the Current Line of Control is the basis for peace and tranquility in the border areas and is expressly recognized in the 1993 and 1996 Agreements. The armed forces strictly respect it, this has not been reacted by the Chinese side. Their actions have led to confrontations and occasional frictions along the LAC. As I mentioned earlier, agreements have detailed procedures and norms to deal with the confrontation situation. However, in recent incidents, this year, the violent behavior of Chinese forces has been in complete violation of all mutually agreed norms.
  • So far, the Chinese side has mobilized a large number of troops and armaments along the LAC, as well as in depth areas. There are several friction zones in Eastern Ladakh including Gogra, Kongka La and the North and South Banks of Lake Pangong. In response to China’s actions, our armed forces have also made proper counter-placement in these areas to ensure that India ‘s borders are fully protected. The House must have full confidence that our armed forces will always rise to the challenge and make us all proud. This is still an ongoing situation and obviously involves sensitive operational issues. Therefore, I would not be able to give more details to the public and I am sure of the Chamber ‘s understanding in this regard.
  • This rapid deployment by our armed forces, including the ITBP, occurred at a challenging time for COVID-19. Their efforts should be appreciated. This is made possible by the great importance that the Government has placed on the development of border infrastructure in recent years. The House is aware that over the past many decades, China had undertaken significant infrastructure-building activity that enhanced their deployment capabilities in border areas. However, in response, our Government has also increased the budget for border infrastructure development to about double the previous levels. As a result, more roads and bridges have been completed in border areas. This has not only provided the necessary connections for the local population, but also provided better logistical support to our armed forces, enabling them to be more vigilant in border areas and respond more effectively where required. In the coming years, the Government remains committed to this goal. We will not back down from taking any big and tough step in the interest of our country.

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