Union home minister Amit Shah has said the government is taking all possible military and diplomatic steps to resolve the ongoing border standoff in Ladakh with China and is committed to protecting the sovereignty and security of the country.
Shah said in an interview to a television news channel on 17 October that Indian defence forces are always ready to respond to any form of aggression. His comments came days after Chinese President Xi Jinping asked troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to be prepared for war amid ongoing tensions with India in eastern Ladakh.
“We are vigilant for every inch of our land, no one can take it away… Our defence forces and leadership are capable of defending the country’s sovereignty and border,” he said in an interview. “Every nation is always ready (for war). That’s the purpose of maintaining armies — to respond to any form of aggression. I am not saying this in reference to any particular comments, but India’s defence forces are always ready,” he said.
The Union home minister added that militaries of both countries are talking to each other and the diplomatic channels of communication are open. The seventh round of talks between Indian and Chinese diplomats and military officials was held on 13 October, which lasted more than 12 hours. A day after the seventh round of talks between senior military commanders at Chushul India and China said in a joint press statement that both sides have agreed to continue their dialogue to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution for early disengagement in the eastern Ladakh theatre.
They said they had a better understanding of each other’s position in the sensitive sector after the latest round of talks, even as the border row is in its sixth month and efforts to disengage and de-escalate have made no breakthrough. “The two sides had a sincere, in-depth and constructive exchange of views on disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the western sector of India-China border areas. They were of the view that these discussions were positive, constructive and had enhanced understanding of each other’s positions,” said the statement.
Shah was asked if India should change its policy towards Tibet and Taiwan in a tit-for-tat response to China’s claim on Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. “It’s not right to discuss this here. It’s a very complex issue with far-reaching implications. Defence minister Rajnath Singh and foreign minister S Jaishankar have cleared India’s position (on China) on Parliament’s floor. I think that’s enough. Talks with China are underway…” he said.
Both the countries have deployed more than 50,000 soldiers each along with advanced weapons and systems in eastern Ladakh. The Indian Army and PLA have made preparations for a long haul in the sector even as talks at military and diplomatic levels are on.