Chinese troops attempted to unilaterally change status quo in Galwan Valley: MEA

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External Affairs Ministry on Tuesday (June 16) issued a statement on a violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh`s Galwan Valley in response to media queries on the situation in the western sector of the Sino-India border.

The MEA’s official spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava, said, “India and China have been discussing through military and diplomatic channels the de-escalation of the situation in the border area in Eastern Ladakh.”  
 
“Senior Commanders had a productive meeting on 6th June 2020 and agreed on a process for such de-escalation. Subsequently, ground commanders had a series of meetings to implement the consensus reached a higher level,” he said, adding “While it was our expectation that this would unfold smoothly, the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley.”  
 
Srivastava further said, “On the late-evening and night of 15th June 2020 a violent face-off happened as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there. Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side.”  
 
“Given its responsible approach to border management, India is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the LAC. We expect the same of the Chinese side,” he said.  
 
“We remain firmly convinced of the need for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue. At the same time, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Srivastava added.

Notably, the loss of lives on the Indian side during violent face-off includes an officer and two soldiers. 

Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held two review meetings over developments in eastern Ladakh. A meeting was held at the residence of Defence Minister in the evening which was attended by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General MM Naravane.

He also held another meeting in which the CDS, External Affairs Minister and three service chiefs were present. This is the first violent incident on LAC since 1975 in which casualties have taken place. 

Meanwhile, Opposition parties today questioned the “silence” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the violent clash between Indian and Chinese troops and asked them to take the nation into confidence on the matter

The ruling BJP, however, asserted that India’s borders will remain intact under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership.

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The India Wire Team

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