Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s speech in the Lok Sabha on the situation at the border in Ladakh. Excerpts via PIB India:
As the House is aware, India and China are yet to resolve their boundary question. China does not accept the customary and traditional alignment of the boundary between India and China.
As the House is aware,
- China continues to be in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 sq. kms in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
- In addition, under the so-called Sino-Pakistan ‘Boundary Agreement’ of 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq. km. of Indian territory in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to China.
- China also claims approximately 90,000 sq. kms. of Indian territory in the Eastern Sector of the India-China boundary in Arunachal Pradesh.
I would like to mention here that as yet there is no commonly delineated Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the border areas between India and China and there is no common perception of the entire LAC.
There are some areas where the Chinese and Indian perceptions of LAC overlap. In these areas, as also with other sections of the border areas, the various agreements govern the manner in which troops of both sides should operate and deal with situations of face-offs to maintain peace and tranquility.
The Government has an elaborate and time tested coordination mechanism amongst different intelligence agencies including intelligence units of the Central Police Forces and the three armed forces.
The technical and human intelligence is continuously gathered in a well coordinated manner. It is shared with the armed forces which help them in taking decisions.
In early May, the Chinese side had taken action to hinder the normal, traditional patrolling pattern of our troops in the Galwan Valley area, which resulted in a face-off.
Even as this situation was being addressed by the Ground Commanders as per the provisions of our bilateral agreements and protocol, in mid-May the Chinese side made several attempts to transgress the LAC in other parts of the Western Sector.
This included Kongka La, Gogra and North Bank of Pangong Lake. These attempts were detected early and consequently responded to appropriately by our armed forces.
Even as discussions were going on, the Chinese side again engaged in provocative military manoeuvers 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.
As of now, the Chinese side has mobilized a large number of troops and armaments along the LAC as well as in the depth areas.
There are several friction areas in Eastern Ladakh including Gogra, Kongka La and North and South Banks of the Pangong Lake.
In response to China’s actions, our armed forces have also made appropriate counter deployments in these areas to ensure that India’s security interests are fully protected.
China had undertaken significant infrastructure construction activity that enhanced their deployment capabilities in the border areas.
However, in response, our Government too has stepped up the budget for border infrastructure development to about double the previous levels.
The current situation is very different both in terms of scale of troops involved and the number of friction points, we do remain committed to the peaceful resolution of the current situation. At the same time, the House can be assured that we remain prepared to deal with all contingencies.