The government said in Parliament on Wednesday (September 16) that no infiltration has been reported along the India-China border in the last six months. The government statement came amid a tense stand-off in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control, an unmarked border between the two countries.
The Home Ministry’s written reply was to a question from BJP Rajya Sabha member Anil Agrawal, who wanted to know whether cases of infiltration from Pakistan and China had increased in the last six months and what steps were being taken by the government.
“No infiltration has been reported along the India-China border during the last six months,” replied Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai even as he listed most infiltration attempts by Pakistan in April.
The government has so far given no clear, official picture on the Chinese presence near the LAC in Ladakh.
Rai’s response clearly reflects an attempt to play down Chinese incursions across the LAC and stress that India has firmly held on to its positions there. At the same time, the government has sought to draw a line between the de facto border and a delineated international border
On Tuesday (September 15) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament that China continues to be in illegal occupation of about 38,000 sq km in Ladakh. “In mid-May, the Chinese side made several attempts to transgress the LAC in other parts of the western sector. This included Kongka La, Gogra and the north bank of Pangong Lake. While no one should doubt our determination to safeguard our borders, India believes that mutual respect and mutual sensitivity are the basis for peaceful relations with neighbours,” Singh said.
Tension at the LAC since May escalated on June 15, when 20 Indian soldiers were killed at Galwan.
In August, the Defence Ministry put up a document on its website that said Chinese aggression “has been increasing along the LAC and more particularly in Galwan valley since May 5, 2020” and “the Chinese side has transgressed in the areas of Kungrang Nala, Gogra and north bank of Pangong Tso Lake on May 17-18”. This was removed within two days.
At an all-party meeting in June on the China dispute, Prime Minister Modi had said: “Neither has anyone intruded into our territory nor taken over any post. Our forces are doing what they have to do to protect the country, whether it is deployment, action or counter-action. Our patrolling capacity has increased due to newly built infrastructure, especially along LAC.”
Later, however, the PM’s office clarified that his observations that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC “pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces.”