India, China agree to disengage; both to remove deployments in phases: Rajnath Singh in Rajya Sabha
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's address comes a day after the Chinese Defence Ministry said that both sides have begun disengaging on the southern and northern banks of Pangong
In a big breakthrough in the India-China stand-off, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Our sustained talks with China have led to agreement on disengagement...”
While addressing the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Rajnath Singh said, “China illegally occupied approximately 38,000 sq km in the Union Territory of Ladakh, mainly during the 1962 conflict. In addition, under the so-called Sino-Pakistan ‘Boundary Agreement’ of 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq km of Indian territory in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) to China. China thus is in illegal occupation of more than 43,000 sq km of Indian territory. It also claims approximately 90,000 sq km of Indian territory in the Eastern Sector of the India-China boundary in Arunachal Pradesh. India has never accepted this illegal occupation of our territory or the unjustified claims.”
In his address, Rajnath Singh said, "Since last year, we have maintained a relationship with China on military and diplomatic levels. During the talks, we told China that we want a solution to the issue based on three principles - first, both sides should strictly respect and observe the LAC; second, neither side should attempt to alter the status quo unilaterally; and third, all agreements and understandings between the two sides must be fully abided by in their entirety."
In a proud moment, during his address on the Ladakh standoff, he also gave a shout-out to the Defence Forces, and said, “I am proud to say that our Armed Forces have responded to the challenges posed by the unilateral Chinese action and have shown valour and courage on both - South and North bank of Pangong Tso... Our Armed Forces proved yet again that territorial integrity of our country remains safe in their hands and their grit and determination to safeguard our borders is unwavering."
The Defence Minister further added, “I am happy to inform... that as a result of our well-thought out approach and sustained talks with the Chinese side, we have now been able to reach an agreement on disengagement in the North and South Bank of the Pangong Lake... By now, the Chinese side is also fully aware of our resolve. It is therefore our expectation that the Chinese side will work with us in full sincerity to resolve these remaining issues."