The Ministry of Defence on Friday (February 12) said India has not conceded any territory to China, issuing a nine-point rebuttal to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s questions on the disengagement process in Ladakh, in which he claimed that the Narendra Modi government had “ceded” Indian territory to China.
“India has not conceded any territory as a result of this agreement. On the contrary, it has enforced observance and respect for LAC [Line of Actual Control] and prevented any unilateral change in the status quo,” a statement from the ministry said.
The ministry added that there are some differences that are yet to be resolved. “Raksha mantri‘s [Defence Minister Rajnath Singh] statement also made clear that there are outstanding problems to be addressed, including at Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang. The outstanding issues are to be taken up within 48 hours of the completion of the Pangong Tso disengagement,” it added.
Gandhi held a news conference a few hours earlier, asking the government five questions relating to the breakthrough announced by Singh in Parliament on Thursday that India and China had reached an agreement on disengagement in the north and south banks of Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh that mandates both sides to “cease” forward deployment of troops in a “phased, coordinated and verifiable” manner.
Singh later said on Thursday in the Lok Sabha that the disengagement process was “going on well”, and that the implementation of the pact will “substantially restore” the situation to the one that existed prior to the standoff that erupted last on May 5.
However, Gandhi claimed that the government had “ceded” Indian territory to the Chinese. He asked why Indian forces had been pulled back to the third “finger” or ridge in the Pangong Tso area even though troops were traditionally stationed till Finger 4.
The defence ministry strongly denied this, saying: “The assertion that Indian territory is up to Finger 4 is categorically false. The territory of India is as depicted by the map of India and includes more than 43,000 square kilometres currently under illegal occupation of China since 1962.”