Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that India always conveyed to China that border issues can be resolved through talks. Making a statement on ‘present situation in Eastern Ladakh’ in Rajya Sabha, Singh said that Chinese actions near the border areas have impacted the bilateral ties. He said that Indian forces have bravely faced the challenges at the border and "proved that they are ready to face any challenge to protect the sovereignty of the country".
He said that India is committed to maintaining a peaceful situation at the border. "India has always emphasised on maintaining bilateral ties," the minister said.
"We have made it clear to China that no attempt should be made to change the status quo. We have had nine round of talks between the two countries and have clarified that both forces should return to their posts," he said.
He siad that "many fraction areas are built near LAC in Eastern Ladakh. China has collected heavy force and arms and ammunition near LAC and in the nearby area on their side".
"Our forces have also adequate and effectively done counter deployment," the Defence Minister said.
"Our sustained talks with China have led to agreement on disengagement on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake. After this agreement, India-China will remove forward deployments in a phased, coordinated manner," he said.
Have not lost anything: Rajnath
Singh said that both sides will withdraw forward deployment in phased, verified manner. "I want to assure this House that we have not lost anything," he said.
Singh said that it has also been agreed to convene the next meeting of the Senior Commanders within 48 hours after the complete disengagement in the Pangong Lake area "to address and resolve all other remaining issues".
The implementation of disengagement agreement, he said, started Wednesday in North and South Bank of Pangong lake.
Chinese side will keep its troop presence in North Bank area to east of Finger 8 while Indian troops will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3, he said.
"India will not allow even an inch of its territory to be taken by anyone," Singh said.
Notably, the frontline troops of China and India at the south and north banks of the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh started synchronised and organised disengagement from Wednesday. The militaries of China and India have been engaged in a tense standoff in eastern Ladakh since early May last year. The two countries have held several rounds of military and diplomatic-level talks to resolve the face-off.
Earlier on January 24, the 9th round of China-India Corps Commander-level meeting was held on the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point. During the meeting, the two sides agreed that the meeting was "positive, practical and constructive," which further enhanced mutual trust and understanding. The two sides agreed to push for an early disengagement of the frontline troops.