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India-China Skirmishes Have Primarily Been Over Patrolling, Rajnath Singh Tells Rajya Sabha

The defence minister said "no force in the world can stop Indian soldiers from patrolling".

New Delhi: Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday spoke on the military standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and said that no force in the world can stop Indian troops from patrolling the country’s border in the Ladakh region.

Singh’s statement comes two days after his address to the Lok Sabha on the border standoff along the LAC, where he said that China had mobilised large number of troops, weapons and ammunition on the LAC in Eastern Ladakh, violating all bilateral agreements in the process.

“Chinese actions reflect a disregard of our various bilateral agreements. The amassing of the troops by China goes against the 1993 & 1996 Agreements,” Singh asserted, adding that China continues to illegally occupy approximately 38,000 sq. kms in the Union territory of Ladakh.

Also read: What Rajnath Left Out: PLA Blocks Access to 900 Sq Km of Indian Territory in Depsang

After the defence minister’s statement, the opposition slammed the government for not being allowed to speak by Lok Sabha speaker, Om Birla.

Replying to the clarifications sought by members of parliament on the border standoff, Singh said in Rajya Sabha that skirmishes and face-off with China in the last few months have been primarily over the issue of patrolling the Ladakh border. “I want to make it clear, skirmishes and face-off are because of this (issue of patrolling),” he said, adding that the patrolling pattern is traditional and well-defined.

“No force in the world can stop Indian soldiers from patrolling. Our soldiers have sacrificed their lives only for this,” the minister said.

In his statement, Singh said China attempted to change the status quo along the LAC with its provocative military manoeuvres late last month and that there is a mismatch between what Beijing says and does.

Also read: As Beijing Engages Delhi in Discursive Talks, Maintaining Troops at LAC Becomes a Costly Affair

The minister said India wants a peaceful solution to the boundary issue, but will not shy away from any action required to defend the sovereignty of the country.

While the two sides were engaged in diplomatic and military dialogues, Singh said, “The Chinese side again engaged in provocative military manoeuvres on the night of 29th and 30th August in an attempt to change the status quo in the South Bank area of Pangong Lake”.

“But yet again, timely and firm actions by our armed forces along the LAC prevented such attempts from succeeding,” he said, adding that, “Unki kahani aur karni alag hai (their actions are at variance with their words”.

(With inputs from PTI)