In a major development, the Ministry of Defence, for the first time, acknowledged that China intruded into Indian territory in eastern Ladakh in early May. However, the document, which was published on the news section of the MoD website, has now gone missing after two days.
“Chinese aggression has been increasing along the LAC and more particularly in Galwan Valley since 5th May 2020. The Chinese side transgressed into the areas of Kugrang Nala, Gogra and north bank of Pangong Tso lake on 17-18 May, 2020,” read the document titled ‘Major activities of Department of Defence for the month of June, 2020’.
The document said that with regard to the development, ground-level interactions were held between the armed forces of both the sides to diffuse the situation and noted that a Corps Commander-level flag meeting was held on June 6. “However, a violent face-off incident took place between the two sides on June 15, resulting in casualties on both sides.”
It further pointed out that subsequently, a second Corps Commander-level meeting took place on June 22, 2020 to discuss modalities of de-escalation process.
The Government document further stated that the present standoff with China is likely to be prolonged.
“While engagement and dialogue at military and diplomatic level is continuing to arrive at mutually acceptable consensus the present standoff is likely to be prolonged,” the report stated.
The report ended saying that “prompt action based on evolving situation” should be taken.
“The situation in Eastern Ladakh arising from unilateral aggression by China continues to be sensitive and requiring close monitoring and prompt action based on the evolving situation,” it said.
The third meeting took place on June 30 and it went on for around 12 hours. During the meeting, all contentious areas of stand-off were discussed to stabilise the situation.
China had agreed to move back in Pangong Tso but did not. India claims the Line of Actual Control at Finger 8 and the Chinese are sitting between Finger 4 and Finger 5. Similarly, differences exist in Depsang and Demchok.
The fourth meeting took place on July 14 where India and China military delegates held deliberations about disengagement of troops and materials at the borders for 15 long hours. Indian delegates asked Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops to completely withdraw from Pangong Lake and Depsang.
The fifth meeting that took place on August 2 made it clear that China remains non-committal for disengagement at the border in eastern Ladakh and the Indian authorities directed armed forces to prepare for a long haul.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi citing media reports on the deleted MoD document, earlier today tweeted: “Why is the PM lying?”
An unprecedented violent clash took place in Galwan valley at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh on June 15 with Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers attacking a small group of Indian Army men on patrol, resulting in fatalities which included the commanding officer of the Indian Army.
As many as 20 Indian Armymen including officers were killed in the face-off.
Following the attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had categorically stated in an all-party meeting on the Chinese intrusion in the Galwan valley and the killing of Indian soldiers that “no Indian post or territory is occupied by anyone.”
“Neither has anyone intruded into our territory nor taken over any post. Our forces are doing what they have to do to protect the country, whether it is deployment, action or counter-action. Our patrolling capacity has increased due to newly built infrastructure, especially along LAC,” he had said.