Yangtse faceoff | Chinese troops tried to alter status quo at LAC, says Rajnath

Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA from transgressing into our territory and compelled them to return to their posts, Defence Minister tells Parliament about the clash at Yangtse

Updated - December 13, 2022 11:06 pm IST

Published - December 13, 2022 01:31 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, on December 13, 2022

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, on December 13, 2022 | Photo Credit: PTI

The Chinese troops unilaterally tried to alter the status quo on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh on December 9 and the move was contested by Indian soldiers in a firm and resolute manner, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.

Making a statement in both Houses of Parliament on the clash at Yangtse in Tawang sector, Mr. Singh said: “The ensuing face-off led to a physical scuffle in which the Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] from transgressing into our territory and compelled them to return to their posts. The scuffle led to injuries to a few personnel on both sides.”

He added: “I wish to share with the House that there are no fatalities or serious casualties on our side.”

Mr. Singh further said that due to timely intervention of Indian military commanders, “PLA soldiers went back to their positions.” As a follow-up to the incident, the local commander in the area held a flag meeting with his counterpart on December 11 to discuss the issues in accordance with established mechanisms, Mr. Singh said in the statement first made in the Lok Sabha and then in the Rajya Sabha.

“The Chinese side was asked to refrain from such actions and maintain peace and tranquillity along the border. The issue was also taken up with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels,” he added.

The Hindu first reported on December 12 that a clash occurred as a very large PLA patrol of around 600 soldiers tried to transgress the LAC in the area and some injured soldiers are currently being treated at a hospital in Guwahati. While the number of injured on the Chinese side wasn’t available, several defence sources said they were higher than that on the Indian side.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Singh chaired a high-level meeting during which he was briefed by the Services on the incident as well as the overall situation along the LAC, according to defence sources.

In a short statement on the face-off on Monday evening, the Army, while nothing that there are areas of differing perception on the LAC, said both sides immediately disengaged from the area after the scuffle.

None can capture an inch: Amit Shah

Speaking to the media outside Parliament, Home Minister Amit Shah said: “No one can capture an inch of land till the Narendra Modi government is in power. The BJP government will not allow any incursion on land. We will not leave an inch of land. The bravery shown by soldiers is appreciable, they have saved our land”.

He said the Opposition parties, particularly the Congress, created a ruckus in the Lok Sabha on the Arunachal clashes, as they did not want to hear the facts on the cancellation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) registration of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) listed for the Question Hour. Mr. Shah said the registration of the NGO was cancelled as it allegedly received ₹1.35 crore from the Chinese Embassy between 2005 and 2007.

Mr. Shah also claimed that the Foundation headed by Congress leader Sonia Gandhi received ₹50 lakh from Zakir Naik, founder of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), which was banned by the government for its alleged involvement in terrorism.

“Between 2005 and 2007, the RGF had received ₹1.35 crore from the Chinese Embassy. After following due diligence, the Home Ministry cancelled the FCRA registration of the RGF,” he said. Registration under the FCRA is mandatory to receive foreign funds.

Mr. Shah alleged that while the Congress claimed that the money from the embassy was meant to undertake research on ties between India and China, the country wanted to know if the research covered the issue of land that India lost during the 1962 war.

Recalling that China had raised questions about then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh on October 13, 2009, he asked if the party carried out research on the issue.

The Minister asked whether the party also researched issues like incursion into thousands of hectares of land by China, Jawaharlal Nehru “sacrificing” India’s seat in the United Nations Security Council, denial of visa by China to then Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu and issuing of stapled visa to residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr. Shah also alleged that when the Indian soldiers were fighting the Chinese PLA at Galwan [2020], “someone from the Congress” was throwing a dinner for an official of the Chinese Embassy. He asked why work on vital infrastructure projects was stalled in 2012 following a threat from China.

The FCRA registration of the RGF and Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) were cancelled in October after an investigation by an inter-ministerial committee formed by the Home Ministry in 2020.

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