India-China clash: GoI clarifies after PM Modi’s “no intrusion” remark invokes criticism

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On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired an all-party meeting and claimed: “Na wahan koi hamari seema me ghus aaya hai aur na hi koi ghusa hua hai, na hi hamari koi post kisi dusre ke kabje me hai.” (Neither has anyone intruded into our frontier there, nor is any intruder there, nor is any of our posts occupied by someone else.)

This remark came after at least twenty Indian army personnel were killed in the deadliest faceoff of nearly half-a-century with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Galwan Valley. The Indian army claimed that there were “casualties on both the sides,” however, China didn’t confirm any.

PM Modi’s remarks instantly invoked sharp criticism on social media from several sects of the society, including veteran army personnel and defence analysts. 

Today, the Government of India issued a statement on yesterday’s meeting. In the major highlight, the government is clarifying after “mischievous interpretation to remarks” by the PM. The GoI claimed in the statement, “[PM’s] interpretation 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.”

“The Prime Minister’s observations that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC (Line of Actual Control) pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces,” the statement said. “The sacrifices of the soldiers of the 16 Bihar Regiment foiled the attempt of the Chinese side to erect structures and also cleared the attempted transgression at this point of the LAC on that day,” it added.

The statement brings in the PM mostly in line with the earlier statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The MEA’s statement, which was after a phone call between S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. It said: “While there was some progress, the Chinese side sought to erect a structure in Galwan valley on our side of the LAC. While this became a source of dispute, the Chinese side took pre-meditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties. It reflected an intent to change the facts on the ground in violation of all our agreements to not change the status quo.”  

However, after the PM’s yesterday remark, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, reiterated China’s claim over the sovereignty of Galwan Valley. “The Galwan Valley is located on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control in the west section of the China-India boundary,” the statement read.

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