Want to end border tension with China but will not cede an inch of land: Rajnath Singh in Darjeeling
New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday (October 25, 2020) asserted that India wants an end to the border tension with China in eastern Ladakh and said that he was confident the Indian Army would not let anyone take "even an inch of our land".
The defence minister said: "India wants that the border tension with China should end and peace should be preserved. Also, I am confident that our army will not let anyone take even an inch of our land." Singh made the remarks after performing "Shastra Puja" at Sukna-based headquarters of the Indian Army's 33 Corps in Darjeeling district of West Bengal on the occasion of Dussehra.
The defence minister was scheduled to perform the puja at Sherathang in Sikkim but could not go there due to inclement weather.
"India wants an end to the ongoing border tension with China and restoration of peace. This is our objective. But at times, some nefarious incidents keep happening. I am very confident that our soldiers will never allow even an inch of our land to be taken away by anyone," Singh said after performing the "puja".
Singh has been performing "Shastra Puja" during Dussehra for the last several years, including his tenure as Union home minister in the previous NDA government. The defence minister's "Shastra Puja" at the strategically important military base was a message to India's adversaries, a military official said.
After performing the puja, Singh inaugurated a new road in Sikkim through a video-conference from Sukna.
"I can say with confidence and on the basis of concrete information that the courage and deeds of Indian soldiers during whatever has happened at the India-China border in Ladakh recently will be written in golden letters by the historians," the minister said without elaborating.
The defence minister also reviewed the combat preparedness of the Army during a high-level meeting at the military base.
The defence minister was accompanied by Chief of Army Staff Gen. MM Naravane and several senior officers of the Army as he performed the "puja". The military base is responsible for guarding the LAC in the Sikkim sector.
On June 15, as many as 20 Indian soldiers laid down their lives while valiantly fighting a group of Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, an incident that had significantly escalated the border tension between the two countries.
China is yet to disclose the number of its soldiers killed and injured in the clash, though it has officially admitted to have suffered casualties.
Since then, the Indian troops have occupied a number of strategic heights in the Mukhpari, Rezang La and Magar hill areas around the southern bank of the Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh, after the Chinese military attempted to intimidate them in the area on the intervening night of August 29 and 30.
Both sides held a series of diplomatic and military talks to resolve the row that began on May 5, following a violent clash in eastern Ladakh. However, no breakthrough has been achieved to end the standoff.
The Army has significantly bolstered deployment of troops and weaponry along the nearly 3,500-km-long LAC, including in the Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sectors.
(With PTI inputs)