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Talks on to diffuse India-China border dispute but can’t guarantee extent of success: Rajnath Singh in Ladakh

Singh, in his address, also assured that ‘not an inch of our land can be taken by any power in the world’.

SNS | New Delhi |

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday assured that “not an inch of our land can be taken by any power in the world” as he interacted with the Indian Army and ITBP personnel at Lukung in Ladakh.

He also said that talks between India and China on border dispute are underway but added that the extent of the success, however, “cannot be guaranteed”.

“Talks are underway to resolve the border dispute but to what extent it can be resolved I cannot guarantee. I can assure you, not an inch of our land can be taken by any power in the world,” Singh said and added, “If solution can be found by talks, there is nothing better”.

The Lukung post is in the northwestern side of lake, 43 km by road from the Finger 4 area, where the troops of India and China are in the process of disengagement. Lukung is a combined post, where the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police are stationed.

The Defence Minister also paid tributes to the 20 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in a violent clash with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops Patrolling Post 14 on the Line of Actual Control in Galwan valley on June 15.

Referring to the martyred soldiers, he said, “I am happy to meet you all but also saddened because of their loss. I pay my tributes to them”.

Further, in his address, Rajnath Singh said India is the only country in the world that has given a message of peace to the world.

“We have never attacked a nation and have never staked claim to any country’s land. India believes in the message – ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (world is one family),” he was quoted as saying by NDTV.

“We do not want unrest, we want peace. It has not been our nature to hurt any country’s pride. If any attempt is made to hurt India’s pride, it won’t be tolerated… we will give a befitting reply,” Singh said.

“We are proud of our army. I feel proud as I stand among our jawans. Our jawans have laid their lives for the country. All 130 crore Indians are saddened by the loss,” he added.

Rajnath Singh was also accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army chief General MM Naravane.

Following the address, Singh reached Srinagar where he will review the situation at the borders and also visit forward areas in Jammu and Kashmir, his office informed.

Earlier in the day, Rajanth Singh’s office tweeted pictures of the Defence Minister witnessing para dropping and other military exercises at Stakna forward post in Leh. He also inspected a Pika machine gun.

Indian Army T-90 tanks and BMP infantry combat vehicles carried out exercise at Stakna, Leh in presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General MM Naravane.

Singh reached the eastern Ladakh region on Friday to review the ground situation of troops at the hostile border areas with China.

The Minister, who is on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh region, flew from Delhi to Leh early morning. Accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, he reached Leh at around 8 am.

Since the worst confrontation with China over the border issue, Singh had been ensuring that Indian armed forces are equipped with all the latest arms and materials and are logistically approachable at the borders. He had been meeting to all the stakeholders to ensure the force is ready for any confrontation.

Singh had earlier on July 3 planned to visit Leh, however, he had to drop it as Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to visit the forward location in Eastern Ladakh.

Currently, both India and China are engaged in military and diplomatic deliberation to de-escalate the tense situation at the border areas. The countries are locked in 10-week-long standoff at multiple points, hitherto unprecedented along the border.

On Tuesday, in a marathon meeting that lasted for almost 15 hours, the military delegates of India and China held deliberations on disengagement and de-escalation of troops and materials on their borders in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The talks started at 11.30 am on Tuesday and ended only at 2 am on Wednesday.

This was the fourth Corps Commander-level meeting between 14 Corps Commander Lieutenant General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin, that took place on the lines of the one held at the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting (BPM) point in eastern Ladakh on June 6.

During the talks, the Indian side asked PLA troops to completely withdraw from Pangong Lake and Depsang area. Before the parleys started, India’s main aim was to get the Chinese People’s Liberation Army remove its tanks, artillery and additional forces at Pangong Lake and Depsang areas.

Amid ongoing tensions with China along the borders, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, last week, held a meeting with Border Road Organisation Chief Lt Gen Harpal Singh and other senior officials to review the ongoing projects.

At the meeting, Singh also discussed the improvement of infrastructure near Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.

During the meeting, the Defence Minister directed all border infrastructures to be fast-tracked so that movement of forces is not affected.