Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday briefed the Rajya Sabha on the India-China border issue along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Singh told the House that both nations have agreed on disengagement along Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh, which is a key friction point between the two neighbours. “Our sustained talks with China have led to agreement on disengagement at the north and south banks of Pangong Lake,” Singh said in the House.
Thus, both the countries will remove forward deployments in a “phased, coordinated and verified manner,” the Defence Minister said.
“I am happy to inform the House today that as a result of our well thought out approach and sustained talks with the Chinese side, we have now been able to reach an agreement on disengagement in the North and South Bank of the Pangong Lake.”
“China will keep its troops to the east of the Finger 8 at the north bank of Pangong Lake. India will keep its troops at its permanent base near Finger 3.”
Both sides agree that complete disengagement under bilateral agreements and protocols should be done at the earliest, the Minister told the House. “China is also aware of our resolve to protect the sovereignty of the country. It is expected that China will work with us to resolve the remaining issues,” he added.
Speaking about the dialogue with China, he said, the strategy and approach for it are based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s guideline, that is “we will not let anyone take even an inch of our land.”
“Based on these guidelines, several rounds of talks were held on military and diplomatic levels to find a mutually acceptable method of disengagement,” he added. Till now, nine rounds of senior commanders’ level talks have been held.
“I want to assure the House that we haven’t lost anything in the talks” with China, Singh said. “I would also like to inform the House that there are still some outstanding issues regarding deployment and patrolling on LAC,” he added. These issues will be taken up in the next rounds of talks.
Hailing India’s armed forces, the Defence Minister said he was proud to say that the forces steadily faced all the challenges and have shown their valour and bravery at the south and north bank of Pangong Tso (lake).
Singh urged the members of the House to praise the armed forces for displaying bravery and valour even in odd and hostile conditions.
“The nation will always remember that the disengagement is based on the bravery and valour of the martyrs,” Singh said.