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Government committed to peace, ready for any challenge: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh


NEW DELHI:  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday told Parliament the government is committed to peacefully resolving the ongoing stand-off with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but is prepared to face any challenge. 

“India is fully determined to defend its borders and it has, through high-level meetings with Chinese counterparts, proposed several measures that, if implemented, could de-escalate tensions at the LAC,” he said in a statement in the Lok Sabha.

Since the Speaker did not allow any discussion saying that was what the House had agreed upon, the Congress staged a walkout, saying “they blocked the discussion because they don’t have answers.”
Singh explained how the situation snowballed into the Galwan Valley violence on June 15 that led to the death of 20 Indian troops.

“In early May, the Chinese side had taken action to hinder the normal, traditional patrolling pattern of our troops in the Galwan Valley area, which resulted in a face-off. Even as this situation was being addressed by the ground commanders our bilateral agreements and protocol, in mid-May the Chinese side made several attempts to transgress the LAC in other parts of the western sector. This included Kongka La, Gogra and North Bank of Pangong Lake.

These attempts were detected early and responded to appropriately by our armed forces,” he said. To resolve the increasing friction, both sides held a meeting on June 6 and decided to desist from taking any measure to aggravate the situation further. “However, the agreements were disregarded by China by making heavy deployment of forces.

Owing to their actions, there has been further friction.” In the Galwan violence, Indian soldiers “inflicted cost, including casualties on the Chinese side,” Singh added. The current situation, he said, is because of the difference of perception regarding the LAC. 

Both sides know their claim lines, which was why various CBMs were concluded. “The problem lies in the nature of the LAC which is not defined on the ground. This gives either side the freedom to change the status quo if they trash the CBMs. This is exactly what has happened in eastern Ladakh,” said B R Deepak, Sinologist and chairperson of the Centre for Chinese and South Asian Studies at JNU.