New Delhi, June 18
Condemning the Indo-China encounter that killed 20 Indian Army personnel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday sent out a stern message to China that though India historically has always been a flag-bearer of peace, if instigated it is capable of giving an apt reply.
“Tributes to the martyrs who lost their lives protecting our nation in Eastern Ladakh. Their supreme sacrifice will never be forgotten. India is proud of the valour of our armed forces. They have always shown remarkable courage and steadfastly protected India’s sovereignty,” he said. India has always tried to ensure that “differences do not turn into disputes, he added.
A fierce brawl on Monday between Indian and Chinese soldiers along the Line of Actual control (LAC) in the Galwan valley, Eastern Ladakh killed twenty Indian jawans including Colonel Santosh Babu, although no shots were fired, both sides had engaged in a physical scuffle.
“We never provoke anyone, but we also do not compromise with the integrity and sovereignty of our country. Whenever it was needed, we have demonstrated our strength, proving our capabilities in protecting and defending the integrity and sovereignty of the country, PM Modi said.
“I want to assure the Nation that the sacrifice made by our soldiers will not go in vain. India's integrity and sovereignty is supreme for us, and no one can stop us from defending it.”
The Prime Minister’s Office has called for an all-party meeting on June 19 at 5 p.m.to discuss the situation in the Indo-China border areas. The PMO further twitted that presidents of various political parties would take part in the meeting.
“Nobody should have any iota of doubt about this. India wants peace. But on provocation, India will give a befitting reply,” Indian PM added.
Meanwhile, in a telephonic interaction on Wednesday, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told its Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to begin a probe into incident and take stern action against those responsible for the same, control and regulate Indian soldiers and check that the Indian Army is restrained so that such provocative actions and unprecedented incidents are not repeated further.According to Chinese media reports, Yiurged Jaishankar to stress on border-related discussion and mutually help each other maintain a tranquil situation in the area.
Blaming Indian Army for the situation, Wang told Jaishankar that the Indian Army once again crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to intentionally create problems and aggressively attacked the Chinese troops and senior officers who had gone to the terrain for a settlement and understanding, reports Xinhuanet, official state-run news agency of China..
It further noted that the Chinese FM condemned the whole incident holding India responsible for violations of bilateral agreements reached on border-related issues along with basic norms of conduct defining international relations.
In a statement made to the Indian Foreign Minister, Wang Yi further reiterated that India should not miscalculate or undermine Chinese capabilities, and intentions of strongly protecting its borders and should focus on analysing situations appropriately to avoid similar unfortunate incidents in the future.
Jaishankar responded to Wang Yi by ensuring that India would work towards making this region conflict-free and resolve the border unrest through talks with China.
The Xinxua also reported the Chinese FM making claims that the Galwan Valley had always been Chinese soverign territory, and India’s action of crossing the LAC and has gravely damaged bilateral relations. He urged India to peacefully co-operate and resort to pacifist means of dialogue and bi-partite talks to successfully put an end to this age old scuffle.
There, however, has not been any official announcement from Beijing confirming the number of Chinese fatalities..Speculations are running wild as to why China has maintained a tight-lipped approach so far on the matter.
A an anonymous military expert however, told the Global Times that the main reason of such secrecy is to ensure that the situation does not escalate further due to nationalist sentiments taking over. He further explained releasing the number would only result in comparisons made by both sides leading to further complications.
According to reports in the Global Times, Chinese analysts have predicted that the situation is less likely to escalate both parties have reached a consensus to responsibly resolve issues through dialogue. They further opined that the Indian Military is underdeveloped and incapable of escalating tensions with China at a time when the India economy has been severely damaged due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hu Zhiyong, a Chinese International Relations research fellow, in a statement to Global Times said that this is a calculated move to distract the public. Hu further pointed out that the Modi-led Indian Government recently has been facing heat from all sides due to its failure in tackling and containing the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in unprecedented losses – hence it is making moves against its neighbours to pump up Modi’s approval ratings.
Meanwhile, the Indian External Affairs Minister released a statement which confirmed that the Government of India has vehemently protested against the Galwan valley face-off and it has been conveyed in the strongest possible terms. It also confirms that the epicentre of the scuffle was the fact that China tried to erect a structure on the Indian territory and took pre-meditated and planned action that led to the violence and fatalities. The statement also urged China to ‘strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control’ without taking any ‘unilateral action to alter it’.