Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday acknowledged that India and China were holding talks to resolve the border dispute in Ladakh, but said he could not make any guarantees, the Hindustan Times reported. “Talks are underway to resolve the border dispute but to what extent it can be resolved I cannot guarantee,” he said during a visit to a forward base in Ladakh. “I can assure you, not one inch of our land can be taken by any power in the world. If solution can be found by talks, there is nothing better.”
However, he asserted that “no force in the world” can capture Indian territory, in a reference to the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control on June 15, in which 20 jawans were killed and 76 wounded, PTI reported.
“No force in world can take away land from India,” Singh said . “India is not a weak country. We will not allow the sacrifice of our soldiers to go in vain.” Singh told the troops that their bravery and sacrifice will continue to inspire Indians. Singh also said that he was saddened by the deaths of the soldiers in Ladakh, and paid tributes to them.
Singh also said that national pride is India strength, and “nobody can take it away”.
The Indian Army had said Thursday that the disengagement process was “intricate and requires constant verification”. Army Spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand added that the two sides were taking forward the disengagement process through frequent military and diplomatic meetings.
The disengagement between both India and China began after a telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on July 5 that lasted nearly two hours. On July 6, both the countries had pulled back troops from the site of June 15 clashes at Galwan Valley in Ladakh.
Singh arrived in Leh, Ladakh on Friday as part of a two-day visit to the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. He will travel to Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane accompanied the minister.
Upon his arrival, the defence minister first visited Stakna forward areas where the troops showed him paradropping skills of the Armed Forces. This is his first visit to the areas after the June 15 clash between Indian and Chinese troops in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.