Today's Paper

Border actions violate bilateral agreements, Rajnath tells China

Striking a pose:Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with his Chinese and Russian counterparts, Wei Fenghe, left, and Sergei Shoigu, in Moscow on Friday.AP

Striking a pose:Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with his Chinese and Russian counterparts, Wei Fenghe, left, and Sergei Shoigu, in Moscow on Friday.AP  

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Gen. Wei Fenghe at a meeting in Moscow that the actions of Chinese troops, including “amassing a large number of troops and 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 Beijing 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.”

Mr. Singh “categorically” conveyed India’s position to China on the developments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the past few months, including in the Galwan Valley, the Ministry stated.

Wei sought meeting

The two Ministers met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) late on Friday evening. In the meeting that lasted more than two hours, they had “frank and in-depth discussions” about the border developments 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 Pangong 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.

Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Gen. Wei as saying that “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.

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

Recommended for you