Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that no force in the world can stop Indian troops from patrolling the country's border in Ladakh region.
Replying to clarifications sought by MPs in Rajya Sabha on his statement on the border row, the minister said skirmishes and face-off with China in the last few months have been primarily over the issue of patrolling the Ladakh border.
"I want to make it clear, skirmishes and face-off are because of this (issue of patrolling)," he said, adding the patrolling pattern is traditional and well defined.
"No force in the world can stop Indian soldiers from patrolling. Our soldiers have sacrificed their lives only for this," the minister said.
In his statement, Singh said China attempted to change the status quo along the LAC with its provocative military manoeuvres late last month and that there is a mismatch between what Beijing says and does.
The minister said India wants a peaceful solution to the boundary issue, but will not shy away from any action required to defend the sovereignty of the country.
While the two sides were engaged in diplomatic and military dialogues, Singh said the "Chinese side again engaged in provocative military manoeuvres on the night of 29th and 30th August in an attempt to change the status quo in the South Bank area of Pangong Lake".
"But yet again, timely and firm actions by our armed forces along the LAC prevented such attempts from succeeding," he said, adding that, "Unki kathani aur karni alag hai (their actions are at variance with their words".
While addressing the Rajya Sabha, the Defence Minister said that the Chinese side has not respected the bilateral agreements drawn between India and China previously. Singh claimed that China has in the recent past illegally occupied 38,000 sq km of India's territory in Ladakh. He also said that China has undertaken significant infrastructure construction along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The Defence Minister added that amassing of troops by China along the LAC goes against the 1993 & 1996 Agreements. He also claimed that while India has completely respected the bilateral agreements, China has shown complete disregard for them.
Singh added that China attempted to change the status quo along the LAC with its provocative military manoeuvres late last month and that there is a mismatch between what Beijing says and does.
The Opposition expressed its support to the armed forces. Congress MP Anand Sharma said, "we are all united in this."
(With PTI Inputs)
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