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DNA Exclusive: Rajnath Singh assures nation about safety of borders as Indian Army gears up to brave winters in Ladakh


New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday (September 15) said that there should be no doubt about the country’s determination to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and asserted that India’s armed forces are ready to deal with “all contingencies” in the high-altitude region while making a statement in Lok Sabha.

Articulating the government’s position on the tense Sino-India border row in eastern Ladakh, the Defence Minister said that China has been conveyed that any attempt to “unilaterally” change the status quo along the LAC is not at all acceptable while acknowledging that India is facing a “challenge” in the region.

Rajnath Singh said, “I will not hesitate to share with this august House that we are facing a challenge in Ladakh and I urge the House to pass a resolution in support of our armed forces who have been defending our motherland at great heights and most inclement weather conditions.” 

He further said, “At the same time, the House can be assured that we remain prepared to deal with all contingencies,” adding “I conveyed in clear terms our concerns related to the actions of the Chinese side, including amassing a large number of troops, their aggressive behavior and attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo that were in violation of the bilateral agreements.” 

The Defence Minister made five key points about China in the Lok Sabha:

1. Rajnath Singh said that on the intervening night of August 29 and 30, China tried to infiltrate from the southern side of Pangong Lake, but the Indian Army foiled their attempt.

2. On the Galwan Valley clashes, he said the Chinese side “created” a violent face-off and our brave soldiers laid down their lives but inflicted costs including casualties on the Chinese side.

3. From April this year, the number of Chinese soldiers and weapons on the border of Ladakh has increased steadily. There is tension on the LAC as China has gathered a large number of troops and ammunition in its area, but in response to that, India has also made adequate preparations, he said.

4. Rajnath Singh said the Indian Army is fully alert on the Line of Actual Control and is ready to take action according to the need.

5. The Defence Minister said the Chinese side had taken action to “hinder” the normal, traditional patrolling pattern of Indian troops in the Galwan Valley area which resulted in the face-off.

The Defence Minister further informed the house that China wants to change the LAC in Ladakh. For this purpose, the Chinese military is constantly trying to encroach, but the Indian Army is fully capable of answering him.

Conveying a message to opposition parties and those who doubt the government’s resolve, Rajnath Singh said that Parliament should give a message in one voice that the whole country stood firmly behind the army. 

The Defense Minister also conveyed to China about India’s three principles that both sides should respect the Line of Actual Control; secondly, neither side should try to unilaterally violate the LAC; and thirdly, the two countries should abide by all the existing agreements. 

It may be mentioned here that India has also scuttled China’s expansionist policy through diplomacy, and has emerged as a major competitor of China at every international forum.

Recently, India managed to find a place in the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, after beating China and Afghanistan. It will continue to remain a member of this council for the next four years. India and Afghanistan were supported by the majority of the 54-member council, but China failed to garner requisite support.

In the recent past, India’s foreign policy has witnessed a marked change. It used to follow a slow pace but now it has changed drastically. On the contrary, China followed an aggressive policy, but now it is talking about agreements and status quo in the wake India diplomatic pressure created on the global forums, especially after developments along the LAC in Ladakh.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army is preparing for the upcoming winter season in Ladakh, where the temperature goes up to minus 40 degrees, in the wake of the Sino-India standoff along the LAC in the Ladakh region. 

Indian Army is using the services of C-17 Globemaster, the largest transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force, to transport logistics and military essentials to Leh Airport to have an adequate supply of ration, weapons, and other essentials. 

The Air Force’s Chinook helicopters are also being used to deliver goods to inaccessible areas so that the soldiers stationed at the height of 16-17,000 feet would have an adequate supply of required items to protect from freezing cold. And to keep this mission safe, Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter jets also remain present in the sky.

To brave the freezing cold of Ladakh, soldiers will need special tents for the next 7 to 8 months. At this height, every soldier has been given a total of 21 items to protect them from winters. These items include three-layer warm clothes, three-layer gloves-socks, and warm hat, along with special shoes. 

Source: Zee News