Talks underway with China but can't guarantee success: Rajnath Singh
On Friday, during a visit to Leh, his first since the violent clash at Galwan Valley, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said talks are underway with China but there is no guarantee that they would prove fruitful. However, he underlined that solving the dispute through talks is the best way. Speaking to troops, he assured no one can seize even an inch of Indian land.
The tensions between India and China have been brimming for months, courtesy infrastructure push by New Delhi at strategic locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). However, last month the situation took a drastic turn when China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) attacked Indian soldiers at Galwan Valley. 20 soldiers, including the Commanding Officer of Bihar regiment, were martyred. China suffered casualties as well.
In the past few weeks, several rounds of talks happened between India and China. Earlier this month, NSA Ajit Doval and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, both Special Representatives for boundary talks, spoke as well. The conversation led to positive results immediately as Chinese troops went back by at least one kilometer in the Galwan Valley. Despite this, talks at military levels didn't discontinue.
Now, for the first time, a central minister suggested against pinning hopes on talks. "Talks are underway to resolve the border dispute but to what extent it can be resolved I cannot guarantee. I can assure you, not one inch of our land can be taken by any power in the world," Singh, who is on a two-day trip to Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir, told troops.
In visuals from today, Singh was seen with Chief of Defense Staff, General Bipin Rawat, and Army Chief, General MM Naravane. Clips from the site showed him trying hands at guns. To troops, Singh said India abides by "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" (the world is one family) and wants peace. "(But) if any attempts are made to hurt India's pride, it won't be tolerated," he added.
"Recently what happened between troops of India and China at PP14, how some of our personnel sacrificed their lives protecting our border. I am happy to meet you all but also saddened because of their loss. I pay my tributes to them," he went on.
On a related note, the fourth round of talks between military commanders went on for 15 hours this week. Lt Gen. Harinder Singh, commander of the Leh-based 14th Corps, and Major General Liu Lin sat for a discussion on Tuesday and it continued till the early hours of Wednesday. The latest conversation concerned a more complex phase of the de-escalation process, reports said.