New Delhi: An Indian minister, a former army chief at that, today endorsed figures of 43 Chinese soldiers being dead in the June 15 clash with Indian soldiers at the Galwan valley in Ladakh, where the two nations’ armies are on a border face-off since the first week of May.
General Vijay Kumar Singh, a junior minister in the Narendra Modi government, went around to television news channels to also suggest that Indian Army had held some Chinese soldiers in its custody since the June 15 clash and returned them to China in exchange for the 10 Indian soldiers, who were returned on June 18.
He also said China’s intent in Ladakh was suspect and they did not adhere to the border peace agreements that were signed between the two countries.
“If one Indian soldier died, he took the lives of two Chinese soldiers before laying down his own life. If 20 died on our side, the number of dead on their (Chinese) side would be double that number. 43 of Chinese soldiers dead was correctly reported by some media outlets,” Singh told the television channels.
“China’s intent was suspect and they did not follow what’s in the border peace agreements. They also did not adhere to the June 6 agreement to de-escalate between the commanders from the two sides,” the minister said.
“The Indian soldiers went there to their illegal tents near Patrol Point 14 to ask them to vacate and move back. The Indian soldiers came under attack and there was retaliation by the Indian soldiers,” he said.
“If they returned 10 of the Indian soldiers and claimed to have treated them well, let me tell you, we had some of theirs and also treated them very well. We also returned them to the Chinese,” he added.
Singh claimed that there were border peace agreements, which clearly prohibited the use of rifles and small arms for offensive purposes even if soldiers were carry them during face-offs.
Amit Agnihotri reports:
India rejects China’s Galwan claims
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated the country had lost no territory in clashes with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, India today rejected the Asian power’s false claim over the Galwan Valley region.
“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 LAC are not acceptable,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
“They are not in accordance with China’s own position in the past.”
He was responding to the remarks made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on June 19 claiming that the Galwan Valley, the site of the June 15 bloody clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in which 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives and over 40 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops suffered casualties, lay on the Chinese side of the LAC.
Lijian further blamed India for the June 15 clashes, saying India military had been building structures on Chinese side of the LAC and noted that the PLA had been patrolling the area for long.
Srivastava gave a point-by-point rebuttal to the Chinese claim, as he rejected the Asian dragon’s falsehood, pointing out that India has always maintained sanctity of the LAC and peace along the border.
India blamed China for the June 15 incident saying the PLA’s aggression along the LAC and forays towards the Indian side of the de facto border over the past 45 days had led to increased tensions between the two countries that culminated in violent clashes.
“Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the LAC in all sectors of the India-China border areas, including in the Galwan Valley. They abide by it scrupulously here, as they do elsewhere” Srivastava said.
The Indian side has never undertaken any actions across the LAC. In fact, they have been patrolling this area for a long time without any incident. All infrastructure built by the Indian side is naturally on its own side of the LAC,” he said.
The face-off that started early May, the Indian spokesperson said, resulted after the Chinese side began hindering India’s normal, traditional patrolling pattern in the Galwan Valley area and also attempted to transgress the LAC in other areas of the Western Sector of the India-China border areas.
“These attempts were invariably met with an appropriate response from us. Thereafter, the two sides were engaged in discussions through established diplomatic and military channels to address the situation arising out of Chinese activities on the LAC. We do not accept the contention that India was unilaterally changing the status quo. On the contrary, we were maintaining it,” he said.
Following the June 6 meeting between the senior military personnel from the two sides to work out a de-escalation plan, both sides had agreed to respect and abide by the LAC and not undertake any activity to alter the status quo, the Indian official said.
Surprisingly, the Chinese side departed from the understanding reached between the two military delegations and sought to erect structures just across the LAC in the Galwan Valley.
“When this attempt was foiled, Chinese troops took violent actions on 15 June 2020 that directly resulted in casualties,” Srivastava said.
Prime Minister’s Office clarifies
The MEA’s remarks were in line with a clarification today issued from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office after the opposition Indian National Congress accused him of surrendering Indian territory to China.
“The prime minister paid glowing tributes to the valour and patriotism of our armed forces, who repulsed the designs of the Chinese there (Galwan Valley). The prime minister’s observations that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) statement said.
Taking a firm position, India rejected the unfounded allegations made by the Chinese side and reminded the Asian power that it was for China to reassess its actions and take corrective steps to salvage the bilateral relations between the two countries.
When Dr S. Jaishankar spoke to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on June 17 he had registered a strong protest over the June 15 clashes.
India expressed the hope that China will sincerely follow the understanding reached between the two Foreign Ministers to ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas.
The nuclear-armed neighbours are in touch and early meetings of military and diplomatic mechanisms are currently being discussed.