China in unauthorized occupation of about 38,000 sq. km of land in Ladakh, motion reveals disregard in direction of bilateral ties: Rajnath Singh

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Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday asserted that China is in unauthorized occupation of about 38,000 sq. km of land in Ladakh, including that its motion reveals its disregard in direction of our varied bilateral agreements. Speaking in Lok Sabha, Singh said that underneath a so-called Boundary-Agreement in 1963, Pakistan illegally handed over 5,180 sq. km of Indian land of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to China.

“As this House is aware, China is in unauthorized occupation of about 38,000 square km of land in Ladakh. Also, under a so-called Boundary-Agreement in 1963, Pakistan illegally handed over 5180 square km of Indian land of PoK to China. China’s action shows its disregard towards our various bilateral agreements. The deployment of large amounts of troops by China is a violation of the 1993 and 1996 agreement,” stated the Defence Minister.

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Singh additionally said that respect and strict adherence to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the premise for peace and concord within the border areas, and is explicitly accepted within the 1993 and 1996 agreements. “While our armed forces fully follow it, it has not happened from the Chinese side,” stated the Defence Minister.

“As of now, the Chinese side has mobilized a large number of troops and ammunition in the LAC and interior areas. East Ladakh and Gogra, Kongka La and Pangong Lake have several friction areas on North and South Banks,” he stated.

“India is committed to resolving the current issues in border areas through peaceful dialogue and consultation. To achieve this objective, I met my Chinese counterpart in Moscow on 4 September and we had an in-depth discussion with them. I clearly put our concerns before the Chinese side, which was concerned with the deployment of large numbers of troops, aggressive behaviour and unilaterally changing the status quo (which violated bilateral agreements),” stated the Defence Minister.

“The House must remain confident that our armed forces will face this challenge successfully, and we are proud of them for this. The situation that persists now involves sensitive operational issues. So, I would not like to reveal more details about this. In response to China’s action, our armed forces have also made appropriate counter deployments in these areas so that India’s security interests are fully protected,” he added.

The Defence Minister highlighted that whereas “these discussions were going on, provocative military action was taken from China on the night of August 29-30, which was an attempt to change the status quo in Pangong Lake’s South Bank area”. He added that these efforts didn’t succeed resulting from agency actions.

He stated, “As we seek to resolve the current situation through dialogue, we have maintained diplomatic and military engagement with the Chinese side. Three key principles determine our approach in these discussions: i) Both parties should respect and strictly follow the LAC; (ii) Neither party should attempt to violate the status quo on its behalf; And (iii) All agreements and understandings between the two sides should be fully adhered to.”