New Delhi: China mobilised a large number of troops and armament along the line of actual control in Ladakh and its violent conduct breached bilateral agreements and mutually agreed norms, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said.
Making a statement on the LAC standoff, in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Singh said that India was fully prepared to deal with all contingencies. He expressed the hope that the agreement reached during foreign minister level talks, if implemented sincerely, could lead to “complete disengagement and restoration of peace and tranquility in border areas.”
Singh said that several friction areas have been created at LAC after China amassed troops and Indian troops had to make counter deployments to defend the country.
“As of now, the Chinese side has mobilised a large number of troops and armaments along 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,” the minister said.
The minister said that the current situation was very different from the past when prolonged standoffs have taken place on the border but the effort was to resolve it peacefully. While a troop buildup was detected in April, tension built up after a faceoff at Galwan in early May, when the Chinese tried to hinder the normal, traditional patrolling pattern of Indian troops, he said.
“Even as this situation was being addressed by the ground commanders as per the provisions of our bilateral agreements and protocol, in mid-May the Chinese side made several attempts to transgress LAC in other parts of the western sector.” Singh said that he could not give details on sensitive operational issues. He did not take any questions while giving details on the buildup of troops and bilateral talks.
Placing the blame firmly on Beijing, Singh said that the amassing of troops violated agreements of 1993 and 1996 to deploy minimal troops on the border. “The agreements have detailed procedures and norms to deal with the face-offs. However, in the recent incidents, the violent conduct of Chinese forces has been in complete violation of all mutually agreed norms,” he said.
“Even though the situation this year is very different both in terms of scale of troops involved and the number of friction points, we do remain committed to the peaceful resolution of the current situation. At the same time, the House can be assured that we remain prepared to deal with all contingencies,” he said.
The minister said that it has been made clear to China through both diplomatic and military channels that its attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo was unacceptable. Placing the blame firmly on China for the Galwan clash on June 15, the minister said that both sides had agreed to a process of disengagement at military commander talks but the PLA violated the norms.
“The Chinese created a violent face off on June 15th at Galwan. Our brave soldiers laid down their lives and also inflicted costs including casualties on the Chinese,” he said, adding that while discussions were on to find a peaceful solution, the Chinese engaged in provocative military manoeuvres on the night of August 29 on the South Bank of the Pangong lake that was thwarted.
Referring to bilateral talks and the defence and foreign minister level to reduce tensions, the minister said that India has made it clear that it wanted to resolve the situation peacefully but it required the China to respond and work along. Referring to talks by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart, Singh said “the two have reached an agreement that, if implemented sincerely and faithfully by the Chinese, could lead to complete disengagement and restoration of peace and tranquility in border areas.”