With questions being raised about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks Friday that neither has anyone intruded into Indian territory nor has anyone captured any military post, the government made it clear Saturday that his remarks pertained to the situation in Galwan Valley after the violent clashes on the night of June 15. Read in Malayalam
This came on the day Delhi rejected Beijing’s claim to the Galwan Valley, underlining that it was going against its own position in the past.
The Prime Minister’s Office, in a statement, said the “focus of the PM’s remarks” at the all-party meeting Friday “were the events of 15 June at Galwan that led to the loss of lives of 20 Indian military personnel” and that “attempts are being made in some quarters” to give it “a mischievous interpretation”.
“The sacrifices of the soldiers of the 16 Bihar Regiment foiled the attempt of the Chinese side to erect structures and also cleared the attempted transgression at this point of the LAC on that day,” the PMO said.
“As regards transgression of LAC, it was clearly stated that the violence in Galwan on 15 June arose because Chinese side was seeking to erect structures just across the LAC and refused to desist from such actions.”
Hours later, Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, while responding to the claim by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian that “Galwan Valley is located on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control”, echoed the PMO statement.
He said “the Chinese side departed from these understandings in respect of the LAC in the Galwan Valley area and sought to erect structures just across the LAC” and that Beijing’s claim to Galwan “are not in accordance with China’s own position in the past” – not since the Sino-Indian war of 1962.
The PMO did, however, say the all-party meeting was informed that “this time, Chinese forces have come in much larger strength to the LAC and that the Indian response is commensurate”.
This is the first time that the PMO has mentioned the large Chinese presence. On June 2, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in an interview to News18 TV, said “the Chinese have come in sizeable numbers (achhi khasi sankhya). But whatever needs to be done, India has also done”.
On Friday, Modi told the all-party meeting that neither has anyone intruded into Indian territory nor has anyone captured any military post: “Na wahan koi hamare seema mein ghus aaya hai, na hi koi ghusa hua hai, na hi hamari koi post kisi doosre ke kabze mein hai.”
The Prime Minister, the PMO said, “was clear that India would respond firmly to any attempts to transgress the Line of Actual Control (LAC). In fact, he specifically emphasized that in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges, Indian forces now decisively counter any violations of LAC (“unhe rokte hain, unhe tokte hain”).”
“The words of Prime Minister ‘Those who tried to transgress our land were taught a befitting lesson by our brave sons of soil’, succinctly summed up the ethos and the values of our armed forces. The Prime Minister further emphasised, ‘I want to assure you, that our armed forces will leave no stone unturned to protect our borders’.
“What is Indian territory is clear from the map of India. This Government is strongly and resolutely committed to that. Insofar as there is some illegal occupation, the APM was briefed in great detail how over the last 60 years, more than 43,000 sq. km has been yielded under circumstances with which this country is well aware. It was also made clear that this Government will not allow any unilateral change of the LAC,” the PMO said.
“At a time when our brave soldiers are defending our borders, it is unfortunate that an unnecessary controversy is being created to lower their morale. However, the predominant sentiment at the All Party Meeting was of unequivocal support to the Government and the armed forces at a time of national crisis. We are confident that the unity of the Indian people will not be undermined by motivated propaganda,” it said.
Later in the day, MEA spokesperson Srivastava said: “The position with regard to the Galwan Valley area has been historically clear. Attempts by the Chinese side to now advance exaggerated and untenable claims with regard to Line of Actual Control (LAC) there are not acceptable. They are not in accordance with China’s own position in the past.”
On casualties in the Galwan Valley incident, Srivastava said “Chinese troops took violent actions on 15 June 2020 that directly resulted in casualties” – the MEA on June 16 had said “both sides suffered from casualties”.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, speaking at the launch of Garib Kalyan Rojgar Yojana from Khagaria via videoconference from Delhi Saturday, said: “The country takes pride in the sacrifice made by the brave soldiers in Ladakh. Today when I am talking to people to Bihar, I can say with pride that it was parakram (valour) of the soldiers of Bihar Regiment, and every Bihari is proud of it.”
Saluting all soldiers who fell in the line of duty, Modi said: “Let me assure families of soldiers that the country has been with you, the country has been with its Army, and is committed to the bright future of the families of soldiers.”
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