During his one day visit to Ladakh, the defence minister Rajnath Singh visited the Pangong Tso area in Ladakh – the area is the point of contention between India and China in the ongoing stand-off. Addressing the troops at Lukung near the Finger 4 area of Pangong Tso, the defence minister said that with talks going between the two sides, the situation could be resolved. Without naming any country, though his speech was directed towards China, the defence minister underlined that no power could take away an inch of the India territory.
Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “decision-taking PM”, Singh also stated that no “guarantee’’ could be given on the extent of the current situation between India and China be resolved.
His statement comes close on the heels of the statement from the Indian Army and the Ministry of External Affairs who had described the talks between the two sides as “intricate and complex”.
In his address the minister told the troops that “India has always stood for peace but will give any country a reply if it hurt the self-respect of India.”
The minister was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General M.M. Naravane and he was given a detailed briefing by the field commanders on the situation in the region and the preparedness of the armed forces. The minister also witnessed an exercise by the soldiers and drills of the Ladakh Scouts.
Update on the de-escalation
After the talks, the first phase of de-escalation, the Chinese have pulled back from Indian Territory in the Galwan Valley and the Hot Spring Area. However, a huge build-up of heavy artillery and troops continue in the forward locations near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The progress in the most critical spot Pangong Tso and the Depsang Plains areas have been slow. Reportedly, in the Pangong Tso, the Chinese seemed to have crossed into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control.
India has been pushing for the restoration of the status quo ante as of early April. However, to achieve total de-escalation it will take a long time.
What has India done there?
Over three divisions of additional troops and equipment have been moved there. This includes Special Forces, heavy artillery armoured vehicles as well as T-90 tanks.