The Indian Army on Sunday dismissed a media report which claimed that a minor face-off between the Indian and Chinese troops took place this month in the no-patrolling zone at Eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. The Army clarified that no such incident happened and the article published in media “seems to be inspired by sources who may be trying to derail the ongoing process for early resolution of issues in Eastern Ladakh”.
Requesting media to clarify actual versions only from authorised sources in the Indian Army, it issued a statement and said, “An article titled “Minor face-off with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley” published in The Hindu on 23 May 2021 has been taken note of. It is clarified that NO such minor face-off has taken place between Indian and Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh in the first week of May 2021 as reported. The article seems to be inspired by sources who may be trying to derail the ongoing process for early resolution of issues in Eastern Ladakh. Media professionals are requested to clarify actual versions/positions on incidents involving the Indian Army from authorised sources in the Indian Army and not base reports on un-corroborated inputs from third parties.”
The media report had quoted a senior government official who claimed that a minor face-off between the Indian and Chinese troops was reported in the no-patrolling zone at Eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley in the first week of May and no clash happened as the both sides disengaged quickly.
“After the no-patrolling zones were created last year, the two sides occasionally conduct reconnaissance to see if the other side has crossed the line. The patrols are sent at different times. On the particular day, the Indian and Chinese patrols reached the area at the same time, a minor face-off happened but they returned quickly,” the media quoted the official as saying.
On Saturday, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat said that India is standing firm at its northern border with China. He added that the country will lose no part of its sovereign territory without a fight.
In an exclusive interview, General Rawat said, “The Indian armed forces have been given the tasks to ensure the sanctity of our borders are maintained and no part of our territory is lost without a fight. The Service Chiefs and I have said that we need to be prepared and any misadventure from our adversaries will be dealt with firmly.”
Reacting to the report by Chinese state media on the PLA updating its equipment deployed along the Indian borders, including employing the latest type 15 lightweight tanks, powerful PCL-181 155-millimetre self-propelled howitzer and drones modified for high-plateau conditions, General Rawat said India has heavy weight tanks and advantageous terrain on its side.
In an exclusive interview, Army Chief General MM Naravane had said the disengagement process between the neighbours, who are locked in a year-long standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), has been “cordial so far”, hoping the trust that has been built over the past three months will help both sides make a “forward movement” in resolving pending issues. At the same time, he pointed out that “disengagement has happened, (but) not de-escalation”.
Amid strained relationship between India and China following a deadly clash in the Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh in June last year, both sides have completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from Pangong lake’s North and South banks in February following a series of military and diplomatic talks. After months, China officially announced that it suffered four casualties, though observers think the number could be much higher. It was the first deadly conflict between Indian and Chinese soldiers along the LAC in 45 years.
The two sides are now engaged in talks to extend the disengagement process to the remaining friction points.
The talks have remained at a stalemate as the Chinese forces did not show flexibility in their approach on disengagement of troops in the remaining friction at the 11th round of military talks with the Indian Army on April 9.