Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has said that it was due to China disrupting the normal and traditional patrolling pattern of Indian troops in the Galwan Valley in May this year that face-off conditions between the two armies developed.
“From April, the number of Chinese armies and their armaments on the border of Eastern Ladakh was observed. Early in the month of May, China began disrupting the normal, traditional patrolling pattern of our troops in the Galwan Valley region, causing face-off conditions. Ground commander level meetings were also being held,” Singh said while speaking in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament.
“Meanwhile, in mid-May, China made transgression attempts on Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western sector. This includes Kongka, Gogra, and the north bank of Pangong Lake. Our Army took necessary action against these attempts. We conveyed to China through diplomatic and military channels that such activities are an attempt to change the status quo unilaterally. It has also been made clear that this effort is not acceptable to us under any circumstances,” he added.
Singh further said that the violent face-off that took place on June 15 in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed was created by China as it “violated the consent reached in a meeting between military commanders on both sides on June 6”.
“Seeing increasing friction on the LAC, military commanders on both sides met on June 6, 2020. It was agreed that disengagement should be done by reciprocal actions. Both sides also agreed that LAC would be considered and no action would be taken which would change the status quo,” Singh said.
“A violent face-off situation was created by China in Galwan on June 15 in violation of this consent. Our brave soldiers sacrificed their lives but also caused great damage to the Chinese side and managed to protect their border,” he continued to say.
He also requested the Lok Sabha to pass a resolution that the nation stands shoulder to shoulder with armed forces who are “guarding our borders to safeguard India’s sovereignty and integrity”.
“As this House is aware, China has an unauthorized occupation of approximately 38,000 square kilometers of land in Ladakh. Also, under a so-called Boundary-Agreement in 1963, Pakistan illegally handed over 5,180 square kilometers of Indian land of PoK to China. China also claims around 90,000 square kilometers of land adjacent to Arunachal Pradesh’s border,” he continued.
He further said that India and China have formally recognized that the boundary question is a “complex” issue and it requires patience to resolve and reach a “fair, reasonable, and mutually acceptable solution” to the issue, by “peaceful negotiation”.
“It is also to be mentioned that as of now there is not a generally delineated LAC in the border areas of India-China and both have different perceptions about LAC,” Singh said.
“Therefore, there are several agreements and protocols between the two countries to restore peace and tranquility. Under these agreements, it is assumed that peace and tranquility will be restored on the LAC, which will not be considered to have any effect on the respective positions and boundary question of the LAC,” he said.
The two countries have been engaged in a standoff since April-May and China has refused to vacate locations in the Finger area and other friction points in the Eastern Ladakh area.