Amid the ongoing border tensions with China in eastern Ladakh, the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that India is committed to resolve the dispute peacefully.
Singh addressed the Rajya Sabha today and assured that India is committed to peacefully resolve the dispute but won’t shy away from taking any step to defend the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.
Singh said that the Indian Armed forces deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) have time and again exercised restraint during provocative action. “India is committed to peaceful resolution of the situation in Ladakh but is ready to deal with all contingencies”, he said.
He said the border dispute between India and China is unresolved so far but there is no power in the world that can stop Indian Armed forces from patrolling along the LAC. “China has illegally occupied 38,000 Square kilometers of Indian Territory in Ladakh. In 1963 under a boundary agreement Pakistan (in PaK), Pakistan had handed over 5,180 Sq. Kms of Indian Territory to China,” he said. “China also claims 90,000 Sq. Kms. of Indian Territory in Arunachal Pradesh.”
“There is totally a mismatch between what Beijing says and does,” Singh said, adding that “while the two sides are engaged in diplomatic and military dialogues, Chinese side last month made a proactive attempt to change the status quo in the south area of Pangong Lake but again the firm actions of armed forces prevented such attempts at the LAC,” he said.
He said that the technical and human intelligence is continuously gathered in a very well-mannered and is shared with armed forces for decisions. “We have categorically conveyed to China through military and diplomatic channels that the unilateral attempt to change the status quo is totally unacceptable,” he said.
“India believes in peaceful relations with neighbors and we want to resolve the current situation in eastern Ladakh through dialogue. We have maintained military and diplomatic engagements with China,” he said.
“No one should attempt to alter the status quo unilaterally and all the agreements and understanding between the two sides must be fully abided,” he said, adding that the action from China reflects the disagreement of different bilateral agreements that include 1993 and 1996 agreements.
The defence minister said that in response to the large number of troops along the LAC by China, India has also made appropriate deployments in the area to ensure that the Indian borders are protected well.
Terming the conditions in eastern Ladakh as ‘challenging’, Singh said that special tents for living, adequate arrangement of weapons and ammunition and special warm cloths have been made available for soldiers.
Further, he said that in the government’s border developing infrastructure plan, they have doubled the previous level during which bridges, roads have been constructed in border areas, which provides logistic support to armed forces besides helping the local population.
Assuring the nation, he said that “the morale of our forces is very high and all of them are committed to overcome any challenge that may come their way and we won’t let our country down.”
He said the situation in eastern Ladakh is quite different as compared to the past, adding that “in the past, we had situations of prolonged stand-offs with China but we have been resolving all that peacefully.”
“We are committed to resolve the current situation and there must be no doubt about our determination to protect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,”