India wants peace, won’t surrender an inch: Rajnath
Jawans’ martyrdom at LAC will be written in golden letters in history, says Defence Minister
While it wants to end the ongoing border tension with China, India will never allow even an inch of the country taken away by anyone, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asserted on Sunday. He also said the bravery of the Indian soldiers at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) will be written in golden letters in history.
Though Rajnath did not mention the action, it was in obvious reference to martyrdom of 20 Indian Army personnel, including the commanding officer on June 15, in a bloody brawl with the Chinese troops in the Galwan valley. “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,” he said.
On a two-day visit to the eastern sector where India shares the LAC with China in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, Rajnath said, “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.”
Rajnath made these remarks after performing “shastra puja” on the occasion of Dussehra at 33 Corps military base in Sukna, West Bengal. This base is responsible for guarding Sikkim.
Army Chief General MM Naravane and several senior officers of the Army were present on the occasion when the Defence Minister performed the “puja.”
The Defence Minister later inaugurated a new 19-km long road in Sikkim — Alternate Alignment Gangtok-Nathula Road — via video conferencing from the Sukna-based headquarters of 33 Corps through video conference from Sukna as he could not go there due to inclement weather.
He was scheduled to perform the puja at Sherathang, a high-altitude border barely two km away from the LAC China in Sikkim.
Rajnath’s visit came at a time when the Armies of India and China are engaged in five-month long stand-off at the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
Several rounds of military and diplomatic level talks so far have failed to break the logjam.
Given the current volatile situation at the border, both the sides have increased their troop strength at the border besides deploying heavy weapons. India has bolstered its all round military presence all along the 4,000 km long LAC stretching from Ladakh in the west to Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim in the east.
Moreover, Rajnath’s remarks on Sunday came a day ahead of the high-profile 2+2 Ministerial level dialogue with the US here starting Monday.
Rajnath and S Jaishankar will hold wide ranging talks, including the present situation at the LAC and growing assertiveness of China, with Mark Esper and Mike Pompeo. The two visitors will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval.
Necessitated due to the previous alignment having seen extensive damages due to sinking and other natural hazards, the road serves as an important link to bolster defence preparedness in the Nathula Sector in particular and in whole of East Sikkim in general.
He had a few days back dedicated 44 permanent bridges mostly in border areas thereby enhancing the logistical support to the front line troops at the LAC and the Line of Control (LOC) facing Pakistan. Sikkim got four bridges.
In an address to a group of soldiers at the base on Saturday evening, Rajnath said India always tried to maintain good relations with its neighbours, but situations arose from time to time when its armed forces had to make supreme sacrifices to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
Monday, 26 October 2020 | PNS | New Delhi