No force can stop Indian soldiers from patrolling along LAC: Rajnath Singh1 min read . Updated: 17 Sep 2020, 03:08 PM IST
- Reportedly, Chinese troops have transgressed some 18-20 kilometres into Indian territory and obstructing Indian patrols in the Depsang plains
NEW DELHI : Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said China will not be able to stop Indian troops from patrolling regions that New Delhi considers part of its territory.
The minister also said starting a war was in “our hands" but ending it was not – in what could be seen as a warning to China against starting hostilities with India. India wanted to resolve its current border tensions with China through dialogue, the minister said but added that the government would take all steps including difficult ones to secure India’s sovereignty and integrity.
Singh was briefly responding to some concerns expressed by Congress party MP and former defence minister A.K. Antony in the Rajya Sabha on the tensions between India and China along the border in Ladakh. Tensions have been running high since May when India detected Chinese troop intrusions into Indian territory.
“No force can stop Indian soldiers from patrolling... there is no change in India’s patrolling patterns," Singh said in response to Antony’s query on whether the Chinese soldiers were obstructing patrols by Indian troops on India’s side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
According to news reports, Chinese troops have transgressed some 18-20 kilometres into Indian territory and obstructing Indian patrols in the Depsang plains. There were also reports that Indian troop patrolling in other areas along the LAC had been curtailed by the Chinese soldiers.
Singh did not go into details given the operational sensitivity of the situation but seemed to agree to Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu’s suggestion that leaders of opposition parties be briefed separately.
In his statement to the Rajya Sabha that mostly mirrored his comments to the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Singh said India had noticed a buildup of Chinese troops and military hardware along the borders since April.
“In early May, the Chinese side had taken action to hinder the normal, traditional patrolling pattern of our troops in the Galwan Valley area, which resulted in a face-off. Even as this situation was being addressed by the Ground Commanders as per the provisions of our bilateral agreements and protocol, in mid-May the Chinese side made several attempts to transgress the LAC in other parts of the Western Sector. This included Kongka La, Gogra and North Bank of Pangong Lake. These attempts were detected early and consequently responded to appropriately by our armed forces," the minister said.