Govt says Army given free hand to deal with transgressions

BSF soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint along a highway leading to Ladakh in Kashmir
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BSF soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint along a highway leading to Ladakh in Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on 17 June 2020 (representational image) | ANI

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New Delhi: The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers who had “briefly intruded” into the Indian side of the Galwan Valley were repulsed and the Army has been given a free hand to severely deal with such transgressions, government sources have told ThePrint.

“Also, the government would ensure that border infrastructure work would carry on at a fast pace. India has never succumbed to external pressures and India stands united as we face the adversary intending to infringe upon India’s sovereignty,” said a source. 

The sources also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement at Friday’s all-party meet was “selectively” picked by some, which was against the spirit of the united stand India’s political leadership took at the meeting.

Speaking during the all-party meeting convened to hold discussions with the opposition parties over the India-China border tensions, the PM had said: “Neither has anyone entered our territory nor is anyone in control of our border posts. Twenty of our soldiers were martyred, but they taught a lesson to those who dared to look Bharat Mata in the eye.”

Explaining the context of the PM’s speech that had raised a controversy, the source quoted above said, Firstly, those adversarial elements (Chinese Army) who intruded in the Galwan sector were repulsed and while doing that, the 20 brave soldiers were killed. Their gallant action ensured that thereafter, no post was under enemy control and no territory was under their (Chinese) possession.”

The government source also said the military has been given a free hand to carry out all steps necessary and ensure India’s sovereignty is intact. A free hand to the military means that now any transgressions would be dealt with very severely.”

ThePrint had reported on 16 June and 17 June on the sequence of events near Patrol Point (PP) 14, a few hundred metres from the LAC on the Indian side from where the Chinese had come in. 

The PP 14 is at the mouth of the Galwan Valley and is also a meeting point for both sides. 

ThePrint also reported Saturday that the rules of engagement at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which had put certain restrictions on soldiers, have been changed, and the Chinese have been told about it both at military and diplomatic levels. 

Also read: New bridge over Shyok river in Galwan Valley now functional amid tension with China

‘PM batted for peace but not at the cost of sovereignty’ 

The government source also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made it very clear that India’s sovereignty was non-negotiable. He (PM) mentioned that India desires peace and amity, but not at the cost of our sovereignty.”   

The source underlined that while the all-party meeting was about the Chinese transgressions, it was particularly focused on the night of 15 June when the soldiers died. 

“PM Modi said ‘Naahi Koi Ghusa Hua Hai Naahi Hamari Koi Post Kisi Doosre Ke Kabje Mein Hai‘. Since he was speaking in the context of the 16 Bihar action as is evident from the next statement, he basically spoke about no territory or posts being under the Chinese in Galwan, where that operation took place and we lost 20 soldiers. His statement above, applies in this context only,” the source said.

The source added that “to selectively pick this part of his statement, bereft of context and to apply it to the vast canvas of Chinese transgressions across the Northern and  Eastern borders”, would be against the very spirit of the united stand India’s political leadership took.

In such trying times wherein the need of the hour is a completely unanimous, united front, the source said, adding that picking out statements without context can only serve to strengthen the enemy’s hands.

The External Affair Minister’s statement on 17 June as well as to the all-party meeting in this regard is unambiguous and needs to be comprehended to allay any misconceptions, the sources said. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had released the statement following a conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. 

“The Chinese side took premeditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties. It reflected intent to change the facts on ground in violation of all our agreements to not change the status quo,” Jaishankar’s statement said. “It was agreed that the overall situation would be handled in a responsible manner, and both sides would implement the disengagement understanding of 06 June sincerely.”

Also read: Chinese have changed the rules of engagement at LAC. It’s time India did too


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