The Centre on Saturday accused the Opposition of attempting to mischievously interpret Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claims about the June 15 clashes with China, and said that “some quarters” were creating an unnecessary controversy to lower the morale of Indian soldiers.
This came after Opposition leaders and India’s national security experts questioned Modi’s claims that no outsider was inside Indian territory in Ladakh, nor had any border post of the Indian Army been captured by outside forces during the face-off with Chinese troops. Modi made the comments at an all-party meeting called by him on Friday to discuss the June 15 clashes in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, which claimed the lives of at least 20 Indian personnel in the worst violence on the Indo-China border since 1975.
In a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Centre said that Modi was clear that India would respond firmly to any attempts to transgress the Line of Actual Control. “In fact, he specifically emphasized that in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges, Indian forces now decisively counter any violations of LAC,” it said.
Calling India’s response against the Chinese forces commensurate, the Centre claimed it has been clearly stated that the violence in Galwan on June 15 arose because the Chinese side was “seeking to erect structures just across the LAC and refused to desist from such actions”.
“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 statement added. “The sacrifices of the soldiers of the 16 Bihar Regiment foiled the attempt of the Chinese side to erect structures and also cleared the attempted transgression at this point of the LAC on that day.”
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The Centre said that Modi’s address at the all-party meeting “succinctly summed up the ethos and values of our armed forces”, adding that the prime minister on Friday had emphasised that the security forces “will leave no stone unturned” to protect India’s borders.
“What is Indian territory is clear from the map of India,” the statement added. This Government is strongly and resolutely committed to that.”
The statement claimed that as there is “some illegal occupation”, the Opposition leaders were briefed in great detail how over the last 60 years, more than 43,000 sq.km has been yielded under circumstances with which this country is well aware. “It was also made clear that this Government will not allow any unilateral change of the LAC,” it added.
“At a time when our brave soldiers are defending our borders, it is unfortunate that an unnecessary controversy is being created to lower their morale,” it said. “However, the predominant sentiment at the All Party Meeting was of unequivocal support to the Government and the armed forces at a time of national crisis. We are confident that the unity of the Indian people will not be undermined by motivated propaganda.”
Earlier on Friday, China claimed the entire Galwan Valley, including areas that are currently on India’s side of the Line of Actual Control.