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Military-level talks on India-China border situation positive: Rajnath

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. File  

It’s not in India’s character to hurt another country’s self-respect; nor can it tolerate any attack on its dignity, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday. He also flayed Opposition parties, saying he did not need lessons from them on how to deal with these things.

“Congress leaders are raising questions on the India-China border situation. I want to assure the people of the country that I will respond in detail in Parliament,” he said at a virtual rally of the BJP. He asserted that the military level talks that took place on June 6 had been very positive. “Both India and China have agreed that they will continue talks to resolve the border dispute,” he observed

The government has so far not said anything on the ground situation in the month-long stand-offs at various points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

Mr. Singh said talks were on between India and China at the military and diplomatic levels. “The leadership of the country is in strong hands and they will not allow India’ self-respect to be hurt under any circumstances”, he added.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Singh reviewed the situation along the China border with the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) and the three Service chiefs.

The meeting comes two days after the talks between senior military commanders to defuse the month-long stand-off.

‘Routine meeting’

However, official sources said the Monday meeting was routine. Mr. Singh had been holding regular consultations with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat and Army Chief Gen Manoj Naravane on the border situation and this was also part of the routine review.

Watch | India-China border standoff explained

While there is still no clarity on the next round of senior level talks, the sources said the dialogue between local commanders on the ground would continue. At the Saturday talks, which was the highest military dialogue so far to address the issue, India firmly conveyed that it wants the restoration of status quo ante of April before the stand-off began and China pull back back troops close to the LAC. More meetings are scheduled to be held both, military and diplomatic, to end the impasse.

Separately, Western Army Commander Lt. Gen. RP Singh visited forward posts of the Army’s 136 Independent Brigade in Himachal Pradesh and reviewed the operational preparedness. “The Army Commander took an assessment of the ground situation and interacted with Army and Indian Tibet Border Police (ITBP) troops...,” the Army said in a statement. Since the beginning of the stand-off in Ladakh, the Army has beefed up its presence along the entire LAC.

Situation stable: MFA

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said the situation overall along the border was “stable and controllable” and the two sides were ready to engage in consultation to “properly solve the relevant issues.”

Also Read | India, China hold diplomatic talks amid border tensions

Responding to questions on the military level talks, MFA spokesperson Hua Chunying maintained a similar line as that of the Ministry of External Affairs. He stated that recently diplomatic and military channels of the two sides had maintained close communications on the border situation. “One consensus is that the two sides need to implement the two leaders’ consensus and make sure that differences do not escalate into disputes.” The two sides would work to maintain peace and tranquility along the border and create a good atmosphere, he noted.

What is the Doklam issue all about? | A timeline of the Doklam stand-off

Chinese state Media, Global Times, in a commentary on Monday quoting experts, said the current stand-off would not become another Doklam crisis as both sides have gained a great deal of experience from the 2017 stand-off and since then “all kinds of bilateral mechanisms including on military, diplomatic and local issues have been established, which has eliminated the possibility of an incident escalating into a crisis.” However, it said the ongoing stand-off was not likely to end immediately, as concrete issues must still be resolved.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 9:00:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rajnath-reviews-lac-situation-with-cds-service-chiefs/article31780654.ece

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