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China talks may be long; will defend territory at all costs: Army Vice Chief

On reports of China setting up new villages near Doklam, the Army Vice Chief said no new villages or structures have been created inside Indian territory.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Dehradun | December 13, 2020 6:39:22 am
Cadets at the parade during the graduation ceremony at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, on Saturday. Lt Gen Saini was the reviewing officer for the ceremony. (PTI)

Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen SK Saini Saturday said India’s talks with China over the LAC standoff are likely to be protracted, but added that the country would ensure its territorial integrity “irrespective of the cost”. He said India is maintaining its commitment to the dialogue and hoped for the restoration of the status quo as of April.

Speaking to reporters after attending the passing-out parade of Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, as reviewing officer, Lt Gen Saini said: “We are in touch with our Chinese counterparts both at diplomatic as well as the military level. And we hope that a solution is found through this dialogue and status quo as of April this year is restored.”

He added: “While we seek a resolution through dialogue we are also committed to ensuring the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, irrespective of the cost involved.”

Asked about the lack of a breakthrough in the dialogue with China, Lt Gen Saini said: “We have to keep the engagement on with China. And, these are complex talks and therefore it is likely to take time but I do understand that these talks are protracted. But we are maintaining our commitment in this dialogue and hope that an early resolution is achieved.”

On reports of China setting up new villages near Doklam, the Army Vice Chief said no new villages or structures have been created inside Indian territory. “Therefore, it is on the other side of the border. And, as you are aware that continued development of infrastructure on the other side of the Line of Actual Control has been ongoing for the last many decades, therefore, it is not a matter of concern for us.”

Let Gen Saini also said that ceasefire violations from across the Line of Control have seen an increase this year compared to the last two years.

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