NEW DELHI: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday (September 17, 2020) blamed China for current standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) said that it continues to be in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 sq km in the Union Territory of Ladakh. The Defence Minister, while speaking in Rajya Sabha, said that “China’ actions reflect a disregard of our various bilateral agreements.”
Blaming China for the tense situation at the Line of Actual Control, Singh said, “The deployment of the troops by China goes against the 1993 and 1996 Agreements. Respecting and strictly observing Line of Actual Control is the basis for peace & tranquillity in the border areas.”
“China continues to be in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 sq. km 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 PoK to China,” the Defence Minister told lawmakers in Rajya Sabha.
“China also claims approximately 90,000 sq. km. of Indian territory in the Eastern Sector of the India-China boundary in Arunachal Pradesh,” he added.
The Defence Minister said this while replying to Opposition queries on the India-China border tensions in the Rajya Sabha.
He stated that it was the Chinese Army that provoked the Indian side. “Conduct of our armed forces throughout these incidents shows that while they maintained ‘Sayyam’ in face of provocative actions, they also equally displayed ‘Shaurya’ when required to protect the territorial integrity of India.”
“On 15 June, Colonel Santosh Babu, along with his 19 brave soldiers, made the supreme sacrifice in the Galwan Valley towards the cause of defending the territorial integrity of India. Our PM himself went to Ladakh to boost the morale of forces,” Singh said in the Upper House.
Singh said that Chinese actions reflect a disregard of various bilateral agreements between the two nations, such as the amassing of the troops by China, which goes against the 1993 and 1996 agreements. “We have informed China through diplomatic and military channels that China’s transgressions along the LAC will not be accepted by India,” Singh said.
The Defence Minister said that India feels that bilateral relations with China could be improved and a discussion on LAC could happen simultaneously, but added that any attempt to disrupt peace and tranquillity at the LAC would hamper these efforts.
“Both India and China have formally agreed that the boundary debate is a complex issue which requires patience and committed to seeking a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through dialogue and peaceful negotiations,” he said, adding that both sides agree that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is essential in the interim.
Rajnath Singh says India also ramped up our infrastructure after China upped its infrastructure along the border. He also said, “I would like to emphasise, that India remains committed to resolving the current issues in our border areas through peaceful dialogue and consultations.”
The Defence Minister said that India wants peaceful resolution but remains prepared to deal with all contingencies. “The situation this year is very different both in terms of the scale of troops involved and number of friction points. We do remain committed to a peaceful resolution of the current situation. At the same time, we remain prepared to deal with all contingencies,” Singh said.
Singh had earlier addressed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday over the India-China border issue, saying that it remains unresolved, with no mutually acceptable solution till now. “China doesn’t recognise the traditional and customary alignment of the boundary. We consider that this alignment is based on well-established geographical principles,” Singh had said.
After Singh’s address to Lok Sabha MPs, Congress MPs demanded a discussion on the border issue.
On 15 June, clashes between Indian and Chinese troops along the LAC in eastern Ladakh led to the loss of lives of 20 Indian soldiers. The Indian government had claimed that over 40 soldiers on the Chinese side were also killed. These clashes are being termed as the deadliest along the Sino-India border since the 1962 war between the two countries.