New Delhi: The Ministry of Defence has taken down all monthly reports from its official website since 2017 after removing a monthly report which referred to “unilateral aggression” by China in Ladakh, according to a report in the Indian Express.
The monthly reports which have been expunged include those relating to the 2017 crisis in Doklam which do not mention the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops.
Sources told the national daily that the internal mechanism for preparation and sharing reports publicly is being changed to make them more “comprehensive” instead of a list of updates received from each arm of the ministry.
In August, prior to removing all the reports since 2017, the minister had taken down the report for June 2020 which said, “Chinese aggression has been increasing along the LAC and more particularly in Galwan Valley since 5th May, 2020” and “the Chinese side transgressed in the areas of Kugrang Nala, Gogra and the north bank of Pangong Tso lake on 17–18 May, 2020”.
The report also mentioned the June 15 clashes in the Galwan Valley, and stated that senior military commanders were in talks. It cautioned that “while engagement and dialogue at military and diplomatic level is continuing to arrive at mutually acceptable consensus the present standoff is likely to be prolonged”.
The joint report for April and May on the other hand did not mention Chinese aggression, but referred to the crisis along the LAC without going into specifics.
There have been four mentions of China in reports since August 2019: a meeting of the “India-China Joint Working Group” on August 13-14, 2019; “the Joint Army Exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand’ between Indian Army and PLA, China was conducted from 7th – 20th December, 2019 in Umroi Cantt, Meghalaya”; the February 5, 2020 sighting of a Chinese warship, Jiangwei-Il, in Pakistani waters not far from Porbandar; and, the March 2020 report on the construction of a Bailey bridge by the BRO “to meet strategic requirements and ensure connectivity to 451 villages in Upper Subansiri District bordering China”.
As per sources quoted in the Express report, reports are cleared by senior officials before being made public. The reports also usually do not refer to major operations like the Balakot air strikes, the India-Pakistan dogfight, the Doklam deployment.
Sources within the defence ministry told Express that earlier reports would “soon” be back on the website, “likely within October”.