India wants tensions to end with China, says Defence Minister
India wants an end to the ongoing standoff with China in Eastern Ladakh, but Indian soldiers will not allow even an inch of the country to be taken away by anyone, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday.
“India wants an end to the ongoing border tension with China and restoration of peace. This is our objective. But at times, some nefarious incidents keep happening. I am very confident that our soldiers will never allow even an inch of our land to be taken away by anyone,” Mr. Singh said after performing ‘Shastra Puja’ on the occasion of Dussehra at Sukna, headquarters of the Army’s 33 Corps in West Bengal.
“I can say with confidence and on the basis of concrete information that the courage and deeds of Indian soldiers during whatever has happened at the India-China border in Ladakh recently will be written in golden letters by historians,” Mr. Singh said.
Singh was accompanied on the visit by Army Chief Gen Manoj Naravane and after the puja, he inaugurated a road in Sikkim built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) through video-conference. The 19.85 Km alternate alignment of the National Highway 310 was necessitated due to the previous alignment having seen extensive damages due to sinking and other natural hazards, Defence Ministry said in a statement.
Since the standoff along the disputed boundary in Ladakh in May, the Army has been on high alert along the entire LAC. On June 15, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash in Galwan valley in which China suffered an unknown number of casualties. A government official said China, through diplomatic channels, has accepted five personnel killed including a Commanding Officer.
Tensions flared up again on the South of Pangong Tso on August 29 and 30 after Indian Army occupied some dominating heights in the area on Indian side of LAC thwarting provocative moves by Chinese troops and later also on the ridgelines of Finger 4 on the North Bank. Several rounds of military and diplomatic talks have remained inconclusive in finding a way for disengagement and dep-escalation.
Singh was earlier scheduled to perform the puja at the high-altitude area of Sherathang, near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Sikkim, but that was dropped due to inclement weather, officials stated.