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India’s Defence Minister ‘Defensively’ Talks About Ladakh Standoff at LAC with China

May 31, 2020 | By

Chandigarh: The Government of India (GoI) has been under pressure because of China’s aggressive mode in Ladakh. If media reports are to be believed Chinese soldiers have advanced into the territory which India claims as part of region under its control. Some reports say that Chinese soldiers have “settled” in this territory and are building bunkers.

The issue has been in discussion for about a month now, but there was no official response from any senior member of the government of India so far.

India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh broke GoI’s silence during a TV interview (video below) with a private news channel.

The interview was held on completion of Narendra Modi’s government’s one year in office for second consecutive term.

GoI’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh | Image Source/Courtesy: Screenshot from video by IndiaToday/Aaj Tak

Rajnath Singh’s tone was clearly defensive and he deflected a question the question related to advancement and settlement of Chinese troops in Ladakh region. India’s Defence Minister stressed that these issues have been arising in past also.

On the questions of LAC and perceptions about it Rajnath Singh preferred to explain’s China’s positions and assertions at length as compare to the stand of India.

Here are some experts and statements based on excerpts from Rajnath Singh’s talk with India Today/Aaj Tak:

India Want Good Relations With Neighbours: Rajnath Singh

“I want to assure the country that the country should remain fully assured that we will not allow any harm to India’s self-esteem in any circumstances. It has, however, been India’s clear policy to maintain good relations with neighbouring countries”, said Rajnath Singh while adding that “this was not any recent attempt, rather it has been duly so since very long”.

Situations With China Do Arise Sometimes

“But sometimes situations like the present one do arise with China, and (these situations) had been there earlier also, and, as you said, in recent times these situations arose at LAC in the month of May. But attempts are on to solve this situation.

China Too Want To Resolve Issue Through Dialogue:

“You might have read the statement of President of China in newspapers or on television channels, he has clearly stated that ‘we want to resolve this issue with diplomatic dialogue’.

India Does not Want Escalation At Any Cost:

Rajnath Singh said that India was also trying to avoid escalation at any cost, and resolve the issue through military or diplomatic dialogue, as per the need.

Talks With China Are Underway:

“And I want to inform you that talks with China at the military and diplomatic level are underway. And even China has expressed its willingness to resolve the issue.”, he added.

Told US Defence Secretary About Mechanism of Dialogue:

“Yesterday I talked to the USA’s Defence Minister/Secretary. I appraised him that in India we have developed a mechanism to settle problems between India and China through military and diplomatic dialogue”.

There Are Perceptual Differences About China-India Border:

“There have been perceptual differences about the China and India border,” said Rajnath Singh.

On Question of ‘Arm Twisting’:

On being suggested by the anchor that ‘no one can arm twist India today’, Rajnath Singh said that there was no question of such a thing.

He added that today India had ‘powerful and competent leadership’ and then made an emotive remark that ‘we will not allow the country’s forehead to bow down’. He said that he need not to assure this thing to the people of India as they already have this faith.

Chinese Troops Advancement is Not New:

When anchor asked advancement of Chinese troops saying that: “Rajnath Ji many people were afraid of reports that Chinese soldiers have advanced quite deeply into the region, is it so or everything is in our control”, India’s defence minister said: “See China believes since very long that this is Line of Actual Control (LAC). At some places they accept it but at some places they do not recognise the LAC as dividing the line of China and India, and they maintain that their claim is across this line. And at some places we have a similar perception and sometimes our patrolling extends upto the LAC and sometimes their people (Chinese soldiers) cross the LAC”.

Reference To Dholklam 2017:

Rajnath Singh added that this chain (of events) has been there earlier also. He stressed that this was not happening for the first time. But India and China have been resolving these issues through dialogue, said he while citing Dhoklam standoff of 2017.  He said that during Dhoklam standoff it appeared that tensions were very high but we were able to resolve it.

“We Will Stay Firm BUT …”:

Interestingly, while referring to the Dhoklam standoff, Rajnath Singh was trying to emphasise that the issue was resolved through dialogue but the anchor added that India remained firm and did not step back in Dhoklam, to which Rajnath Singh mildly answered in affirmation. After this the TV anchor wanted Rajanth Singh to say that India will stay firm in Ladakh also. Rajnath Singh smiled and said: “We will stay firm (Datte Rahenge) but I would like to say that we do not want to ‘show eyes’ to any country or create fear in anyone. We want to take all along and this has been our attempt”.

WATCH VIDEO of India Today/Aaj Tak’s Talk with India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (Source: YouTube/IndiaToday):


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