No power on earth can stop the Indian Army from patrolling along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
Singh said India would not step back from taking any harsh action in reply to Congress member AK Antony and other opposition members. The former Defence Minister had expressed concerns about Indian patrol not being allowed to patrol along traditional points post-April this year. To this, Singh said the troops’ patrolling pattern is as per tradition and well defined. It is in this context that Singh said no power on earth can stop the Indian Army from patrolling.
The Defence Minister reiterated that China does not recognise the traditional LAC with India and that the recent conduct of Chinese troops reflects a disregard of bilateral agreements between the two sides. He said the situation this year is very different both in terms of the scale of troops involved and the number of friction points.
He added that the government was committed to the peaceful resolution of the current situation and at the same time, were prepared to deal with all contingencies, Singh said.
Praising the Indian armed forces, the Defence Minister said they had shown patience and bravery but peace and tranquillity along the border could be maintained only by respecting and strictly observing the LAC and not take unilateral actions like the Chinese.
Singh said Indian troops timely action had foiled the attempts to change the status quo in Pangong Lake and Indian armed forces are in a better position to retaliate.
The defence minister remembered the martyrdom of Colonel Santosh Babu and 19 soldiers on June 15 this year in the Galwan Valley fisticuffs with Chinese troops. Singh noted that the PM himself had been to Ladakh to support the troops and their morale.
Singh said the Indian forces have shown great restraint despite provocations by Chinese troops and have shown their valour when needed to secure India’s territory and sovereignty.