In a volte face, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Wednesday made a U-turn saying there is an increase in the number of Chinese troops along the Indian border, but ruled out any incursion into Indian territory.
Earlier in the day, he told ANI that there was an incursion by Chinese troops into Chamoli district, located in north east corner of Uttarakhand.
“The state revenue authorities were there for mapping of our land and they noticed their presence. Earlier, there were sporadic incidents, but this time it is happening at a larger scale. However, I think that there is nothing to be alarmed as the activities were noticed in Chinese territory,” Rawat told ANI.
“We are alert and that is why we noticed those movements. Besides, the Central Government is also aware of this fact,” he added.
Rawat, however, said as a country we should be alert and think about infrastructural development and increase connectivity in our border area.
When asked if the Government of India should take strong action, the chief minister said, “The Government of India is alert and will take necessary measures at the right time.”
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said appropriate action would be initiated after going through a detailed report in this regard.
“The Indo Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) personnel are monitoring the border area. We need to assess the extent of intrusion. We will seek a detailed report and then see what is to be done,” Rijiju told media persons outside the Parliament.
Meanwhile, former union home secretary and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP R.K. Singh said the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is not defined, adding that is the root cause of the problem.
He said that there has been no cooperation from the Chinese side despite India’s repeated call to define the LAC.
“It was agreed with China that we will set up a group to clarify the LAC. And we have been asking those groups to complete their exercise, but the Chinese have not been cooperating,” Singh told ANI.
“Expecting a friendly relationship with China is not something a sensible person will do,” he added.
According to sources, the ITBP had sent a report about this incident to the Ministry of Home Affairs on July 19, which was the date of incursion.
Uttarakhand shares a 350 kilometer long boundary with China and similar incursion attempts by the Chinese have been reported in the past.
The last reported Chinese incursion in the state was when the word ‘China’ was inscribed on rocks near Mana Pass in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.