Prime Minister Narendra Modi was clear that India would respond firmly to any transgression attempts at the Line of Actual Control, his office clarified on Saturday and countered opposition”s attack, saying “attempts are being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation” to his remark at the All-Party Meeting held on Friday on Galwan stand-off.
The Prime Minister”s Office (PMO) said, the PM specifically emphasized Indian forces now decisively counter any violations on LAC (unhe rokte hain, unhe tokte hain) in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges.
PMO”s clarification followed former Congress president Rahul Gandhi”s accusation on Prime Minister Modi of surrendering Indian territory to China.
“PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression. If the land was Chinese: 1. Why were our soldiers killed? 2. Where were they killed?,” Gandhi tweeted on Saturday, a day after the all party meet.
The opposition leaders were also informed that this time, Chinese forces have come in much larger strength to the LAC and that the Indian response is commensurate, the PMO said.
With regard to transgression on LAC, the PMO says, it was clearly stated that the violence in Galwan valley on June 15 arose because Chinese side was seeking to set up structures just across the LAC and refused to desist from such actions.
The focus of the PM”s remarks in the all party meet was the events of June 15 at Galwan Valley that led to the loss of lives of 20 Indian military personnel, said the PMO.
“Prime Minister paid glowing tributes to the valour and patriotism of our armed forces who repulsed the designs of the Chinese there. The Prime Minister”s observations that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces.”
The sacrifices of the soldiers of the 16 Bihar Regiment foiled the attempt of the Chinese side to set up structures and also cleared the attempted transgression at this point of the LAC on that day, the PMO statement said.
The words of Prime Minister — “those who tried to transgress our land were taught a befitting lesson by our brave sons of soil”, succinctly summed up the ethos and the values of our armed forces, the PMO said.
As per the PMO, the Prime Minister further emphasised, “I want to assure you, that our armed forces will leave no stone unturned to protect our borders.”
What is Indian territory is clear from the map of India, the Prime Minister said in the all party meet and that the government was strongly and resolutely committed to that. In so far as there is some illegal occupation, the PMO said, the opposition leaders were briefed in great detail how over the last 60 years, more than 43,000 sq km has been yielded under circumstances with which this country is well aware of.
It was also made clear that this government will not allow any unilateral change of the LAC. At a time when our brave soldiers are defending our borders, it is unfortunate that an unnecessary controversy is being created to lower their morale, the PMO said. However, it said, the predominant sentiment at the all party meet was of unequivocal support to the government and the armed forces at a time of national crisis.
“We are confident that the unity of the Indian people will not be undermined by motivated propaganda.”
The attack on Indian Army personnel by Chinese People”s Liberation Army happened on June 15 night and it continued for almost six to seven hours.
On June 16, Indian Army stated that 20 of their men, including officers, were killed in an unprecedented violent clash with PLA troops at Galwan Valley.
Indian Air Force chief R.K.S Bhadauria on Saturday said that India is not at war with China but the forces are well prepared and suitably deployed to respond to any contingency.
He was speaking at the Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy, Dundigal here and later interacted with the media persons.
He said the developments at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh are a small snapshot of what “we are required to handle at short notice”.
“In spite of unacceptable Chinese action after agreements reached after military talks and resultant loss of lives, all efforts are underway to ensure that the current situation at the LAC is resolved peacefully but it should be very clear that we are well prepared and suitably deployed to respond to any contingency,” he said.
“I assure the nation that we are determined to deliver and will never let the sacrifice of braves of Galwan go in vain,” the Air Chief Marshal added.
He confirmed that the IAF has made some deployments at Leh and other places and has taken necessary actions for any contingency.
“We fly whatever is required. It has happened whenever it was required. If we find unusual activity we check it out. We have air defence aircraft deployed but there has been no incursion from fighters,” he said when asked if IAF is flying combat air patrols at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
He said the IAF was well aware of the situation and the deployment at the LAC and beyond and had taken all necessary actions.
“We are aware of the full situation, be it at LAC, be at deployments beyond LAC, be it all the air deployments, the posture and kind of deployments. We have done full analysis and have taken necessary actions that we need to take to handle any contingency that may come up with this kind of deployment,” said Bhadauria, who had the forward location bases in Leh and Srinagar after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with the Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in Ladakh on June 15.
“All actions have been taken. We have various options, various contingencies that can arise,” he added
Asked about the deployments by IAF at Leh, the Air Force chief said necessary deployments were made at Leh and other places.
“We have air bases all over. It is not that we will deploy only at Leh and activity at Leh is indicative of our capability or our overall posture and deployment. I will not go into what we have deployed. Be rest assured, we know the situation and we have taken the necessary actions that are required to be taken to handle the situation.”
“I don”t have to give any message to the adversary. He knows our capability and he will factor and he will take due cognizance of our capabilities. You will see it in due course,” he said when asked what would be his message to the adversary.
To another query, he said it would be a good thing for India if the Chinese air bases are at higher altitude. “This is in general but I will not go into the tactical aspects of what is advantageous to them or us. Suffice is to say that we know where their airfields are, where they are deployed, what are their operational basis and whatever has been deployed, we need to factor in and we have done it”.
Bhadauria said every year Chinese troops used to deploy and exercise in the area but this time there was an increase in the activity. This activity at LAC started in May and the armed forced monitored the changes and acted accordingly.
“Where is the doubt? Don”t have any doubt. Have faith in your services. We will handle any contingency, all three services,” he quipped when asked if India is capable of putting up a fight against China.
The Air Chief said the number of aircrafts at Combined Graduation Parade was less this time due to COVID related precautions and clarified that it has nothing to do with the situation at LAC. “If the current situation is that difficult I would not have come here.”
He also did not agree that the newly commissioned officers will be proceeding straight to their units because of the current situation at LAC. “No, this is not an emergency situation. These are not the officers who get into cockpits to fight at the frontline. Obviously 100 number is a good number to have in the field also in terms of current situation. We are taking all our officers from our training institutes to the field to expedite their training on the next system they planned to be deployed so that they can become operational at the earliest.”
Earlier, during his address at the parade, he said the security scenario in the region mandates that “our armed forces remain prepared and vigilant all the time”.
He paid tributes to Colonel Santosh Babu and his brave men who made supreme sacrifice while defending the LAC at the Galway Valley. “The gallant actions in highly challenging situation have demonstrated our resolve to protect the sovereignty of our country at any cost.”
Congratulating the 123 graduating officers on successful completion of their training, he said the newly commissioned IAF officers, instead of going home for a break, will be proceeding straight to their next units to shoulder their responsibilities for the task at hand.