New Delhi: Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha is dripping sarcasm here on the Modi government’s response in Ladakh. Media reports indicate that China is ‘retreating’ but the government has continuously maintained that its troops never entered Indian territory.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has walked into a diplomatic minefield over his nation’s disputed border with China.
“Neither is anyone inside our territory nor is any of our posts captured,” Modi told opposition leaders at an all-party meeting late Friday. His statement raised questions over where the soldiers were when the clashes took place — in Indian or Chinese territory — in an area where a large part of the boundary is unmarked. It also contradicted the assertions of his own foreign ministry.
Just two days earlier, India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the Chinese army had tried to erect a post in the Galwan Valley on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control — a 3,488 kilometer (2,167 mile) un-demarcated border. In a statement after the call, New Delhi accused China of an “intent to change the facts on ground in violation of all our agreements to not change the status quo.”
Modi’s comments drew criticism from Indian army veterans and former civil servants. “I’m shattered to see India quietly accepting China changing status of LAC in Eastern Ladakh,” tweeted Rameshwar Roy, retired lieutenant general and former chief of India’s Assam Rifles division. “What a sad day for every soldier like me.”
Former national security adviser Shivshankar Menon called the prime minister’s comments “an ill-considered and inaccurate statement that concedes territory and the gains of aggression,” according to a report in The Wire. “If this is so, why and where were our soldiers killed?”
Incidents of a face-off have also been reported at the disputed Pangong Tso — a glacial lake at 14,000 feet in the Tibetan plateau, portions of which are claimed by both, apart from the Galwan Valley, which was one of the early triggers of the 1962 India-China war.