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Border actions violate bilateral agreements, Rajnath Singh tells China

Indian Army convoy carrying reinforcements and supplies, drive towards Leh, on a highway bordering China. File   | Photo Credit: Yawar Nazir

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Gen. Wei Fenghe in a meeting in Moscow that actions of the Chinese troops, including “amassing of large number of troops, their aggressive behaviour” and attempts to “unilaterally alter the status quo” along the disputed boundary were in violation of the bilateral agreements, the Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

In a statement issued by China’s official media, Gen Wei was quoted as saying India was “entirely” responsible for the border tensions and China would not give up “an inch of its territory”.

The Defence Ministry said, “The Defence Minister stated clearly that the Indian troops had always taken a very responsible approach towards border management, but at the same time there should also be no doubt about our determination to protect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. He “categorically” conveyed India’s position to China on the developments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the last few months, including in the Galwan valley, it stated.

Also read: Diplomacy is the solution to India-China tensions, says External Affairs Minister Jaishankar

On SCO sidelines

The two ministers met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) late on Friday evening. In the meeting that lasted over two hours, they had “frank and in-depth discussions” about the developments in the border areas as well as on India-China relations.

The meeting, sought by the Chinese side, is the first between the defence ministers since the stand-off began in early May along the disputed boundary in Eastern Ladakh and comes in the midst of a major escalation on the South Bank of Panging Tso (lake) last week.

Mr. Singh further said the current situation should be handled responsibly and neither side should take any action that could either complicate the situation or escalate matters in the border areas. “The Chinese Defence Minister suggested that both sides should maintain communication at all levels including between the two Ministers,” the Ministry said.

Both Ministers agreed to resolve the ongoing situation and outstanding issues in the border areas peacefully through dialogue.

Also read: General Bipin Rawat cautions Pakistan against taking advantage of India-China tensions

Kept restraint: China

Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency quoted General Wei as saying “recently the relations between the two countries and the two militaries have been seriously affected by the border issue” and it was “very important for the two defence ministers to have a face-to-face and candid exchange of views on relevant issues.”

Gen. Wei reiterated China’s stand in the talks, echoing several statements last week where Beijing blamed India for the latest tensions. China on Wednesday said “the responsibility lies entirely with the Indian side” and had “kept maximum restraint to prevent potential escalation”, calling on India to “immediately withdraw its troops”.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) last week said Chinese troops engaged in “provocative action” on August 31 while discussions between ground commanders were on. This followed earlier moves on the night of August 29 which, the Indian Army said, were “provocative” military movements to change the status quo.

Also read: Chinese troops engaged in ‘provocative action’ again: MEA

India’s pre-emptive steps

To pre-empt these moves, the Army said, India undertook measures “to strengthen our positions” near the South Bank of Pangong Tso.

India has said the latest tensions on the South Bank followed China’s similar moves along the the border since early May, where it has sought to redraw the LAC in the Galwan valley, the Depsang Plains, the North Bank of Pangong Tso and the Gogra-Hot Springs area, besides mobilising a large number of troops.

Gen. Wei’s statement

Gen. Wei said:

“The cause and truth of the current tension on the China-India border are very clear, and the responsibility lies entirely with the Indian side. Not an inch of China’s territory can be lost. The Chinese military has the resolve, capability and confidence to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“The two sides should earnestly implement the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi and stay committed to resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation.

“It is hoped that the Indian side will strictly abide by the series of agreements reached by the two sides, effectively strengthen control over front-line troops, refrain from provocations across the current Line of Actual control or take any actions that may cause the situation to heat up, and not deliberately hype up or spread negative information.

“The two sides should bear in mind the overall interests of China-India relations and regional peace and stability, make joint efforts to meet each other halfway, cool down the current situation as soon as possible and safeguard peace and tranquillity in the China-India border areas.”


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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 2:48:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lac-standoff-rajnath-categorically-conveys-indias-position-to-chinese-counterpart/article32529325.ece

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