India and China are talking to each other at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the Ladakh standoff, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said today. Singh’s statement is the first from a senior union minister on the standoff with China at four points along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC).
Rajnath Singh said that both India and China had made it clear that they wanted to resolve the problem. In course of the interview, the defence minister underlined the fact that there was no need for the US to mediate since the two countries already had a mechanism to resolve problems and it had been set in motion. “I would like to assure the country that we will not allow India’s dignity to get hurt,” Singh added.
US President Donald Trump had tweeted that he was “ready, willing and able to mediate” between India and China to help resolve tension at the border.
“You know India’s clear policy is that we should have good relations with all neighbours and this is a long standing policy. But some times circumstances are such that with China things like these happen and such incidents have happened in the past as well,” he said.
“Efforts to resolve this are going on. You must have seen statements from China which have said that we want to solve this problem though diplomatic dialogue,” the minister said, referring to statements from the Chinese foreign ministry this week, which said the situation along the border with India was “controllable.”
“India’s effort is that tensions do not go up… Talks are going on at the diplomatic level and at the military level,” the minister said.
China had earlier this month moved a large number of its troops to four points in Ladakh sector’s Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso area in an apparent effort to browbeat the Indian side to stop border construction projects including a 60-metre concrete bridge being built near Daulat Beg Oldie, the last military post south of the Karakoram Pass.
In response, India’s military also moved in reinforcements to match the Chinese troops and made it clear that New Delhi would not allow any unilateral attempt by China to alter the status quo along the LAC.
“The country should be assured that we will not allow India’s dignity to be hurt under any circumstances,” Rajnath Singh said. To a question on China’s ability to arm-twist New Delhi, the minister said there was no question of this happening since the country had strong leadership and the people knew this.