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No power can touch even an inch of India's land: Rajnath in Ladakh

By Manash Pratim Bhuyan
Last updated on: July 17, 2020 21:29 IST
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On a visit to Ladakh, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday hoped the ongoing talks would resolve the border standoff with China but said he cannot guarantee the extent of success, and asserted that no power in the world can touch even an inch of India's land.


IMAGE: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addresses Indian troops in Leh, Ladakh. Photograph: @DefenceMinIndia/Twitter

Addressing the Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police jawans at a forward post in Lukung, Singh said if there is an attempt to hurt the self-respect of India, then it will not be tolerated and will be given a 'befitting reply'.

"Whatever progress has been made in the talks, there should be a resolution of the matter. But to what extent it will be resolved, I cannot guarantee.

"However, I would like to assure that no power in the world can touch even one inch of India's land, nobody can occupy it," the defence minister said at the post located on the banks of the Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh.

Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for over eight weeks since May 5.

The tension escalated manifold after the violent clashes in Galwan Valley.

Singh said the best thing would be for the matter to be resolved through talks and the process was underway at both the military and diplomatic level.

"We do not want unrest, we want peace. It has been our character that we have never tried to hurt the self-respect of any country. If there is an attempt to hurt the self-respect of India, then we will not tolerate it and will give a befitting reply," he said.

IMAGE: Soldiers listen to Raksha Mantri's speech. Photograph: @DefenceMinIndia/Twitter

India will not allow the sacrifice of its soldiers to go in vain, Singh said in an apparent reference to the killing of 20 Indian Army personnel during the Galwan Valley clashes with Chinese troops on June 15.

"We are proud of the Indian Army. I am feeling proud to be among the soldiers. Our soldiers have given their lives. 130 crore Indians are saddened by it," he said.

India is the only country in the world that has given the message of peace to the whole world, he added.

"We have never attacked any country, nor have we occupied the land of any country. India has given the message of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family)," the defence minister said.

"Now our India is not a weak India. India has strong leadership. We have got a prime minister like Narendra Modi. We have got a prime minister who can take decisions," Singh asserted.

He also paid tributes to the brave soldiers who guarded the borders of India by risking their lives in the Kargil war.

Singh arrived in Leh on a daylong visit, accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General M M Naravane.

IMAGE: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General MM Naravane pose with officers at a forward base in Ladakh. Photograph: @DefenceMinIndia/Twitter

Following a series of diplomatic and military talks, India and China have begun a mutual disengagement process at most of the friction points on the Line of Actual Control(LAC) in eastern Ladakh on July 6.

China and India are committed to 'complete disengagement' of troops, and the process is 'intricate' that requires 'constant verification', the Indian Army had said on Thursday after the fourth round of marathon military talks for further de-escalation of tension in eastern Ladakh.

Separately, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said there is absolutely no change in India's position on the LAC and any 'unilateral attempts' to change the status quo are not acceptable to it.

The MEA also said the process of disengagement along the LAC is 'complex'.

Defence Minister Singh also witnessed a military drill involving a fleet of attack helicopters, tanks, infantry combat vehicles and ground commandos at a high-altitude forward base.

During the drill, the Army and Air Force displayed combat readiness in the region.

A large number of ground commandos, tanks, BMP infantry combat vehicles, Apache, Rudra and Mi-17 V5 helicopters, took part in the drill at Stakna near Leh.

Troops also carried out para dropping and slithering exercises in the presence of Singh, Gen Rawat and Gen Naravane.

'Witnessed the Fire and Fury of the Indian Army during the Para Dropping and other military demonstrations at Stakna near Leh today,' Singh later tweeted.

'Also, I got the opportunity to interact with them. I am proud of these brave and courageous soldiers,' he said and posted pictures of his interaction with the military personnel.

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Manash Pratim Bhuyan
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