Conflict

China ‘illegally occupies around 38,000 square km land’ in Ladakh, says Rajnath Singh

On the fourth day of Monsoon session of Parliament of India, the Defence Minister of India on Thursday Rajnath Singh told the Rajya Sabha that China continues to illegally occupy approximately 38,000 square kilometres of land in Ladakh.

“China continues to be in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 sq kms in the Union Territory of Ladakh,” Singh said.

“In addition, under the so-called Sino-Pakistan ‘Boundary Agreement’ of 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq km of Indian territory in PoK [Pakistan-occupied Kashmir] to China. China also claims approximately 90,000 sq kms of Indian territory in the Eastern Sector of the India-China boundary in Arunachal Pradesh,” he added.

Singh added that Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi himself went to Ladakh to boost the morale of the armed forces. “On June 15, Colonel Santosh Babu, along with 19 brave soldiers made the sacrifice in Galwan Valley towards the cause of defending the territorial integrity of India,” he said.

He said that as China amasses its armed forces personnel, the move goes against the 1993 and 1996 agreements. He mentioned that there are several friction areas in Eastern Ladakh including Gogra, Kongka La and North and South Banks of the Pangong Lake.

Singh earlier on Tuesday, assured the MPs that India remains committed to resolving the current problems through peaceful dialogue and consultations.

He said that in past as well as the situation was resolved through dialogues; however, the situation this year is very different both in terms of the scale of armed forces personnel involved and a 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,” Singh said, adding that it is Chinese army that provokes armed forces personnel of India t LAC.

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu asked Singh to take political leaders into confidence and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said all of them are one when it comes to the integrity and sovereignty of the country.

Blaming the electronic media houses, Samajwadi Party MP Ravi Prakash Verma while referring to the India-China clash said that electronic media seems to have created a situation of war.

Congress MP Anand Sharma sought clarification on the Singh’s statement and questioned if the restoration of the status quo ante will remain non-negotiable for India.

“What does it mean when defence minister says government will do everything to protect the sovereignty,” Congress MP and former Defence Minister AK Antony asked in the house seeking answers from the Defence Minister.

“Galwan Valley was never a disputed site. Now our soldiers not allowed patrol areas they used to earlier. We should be allowed to patrol where we used to,” he added.

In response to the question, Singh said that standoff is a result of Chinese side not allowing Indian armed forces personnel to patrol traditional posts.

“There will be no change in patrolling pattern and no force in the world can stop our brave soldiers from patrolling along our land. It is to keep it that way that the discussion is underway. I cannot say more due to operational reasons,” Singh said.

 

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