Mumbai/ Delhi, June 8:
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday that India wants a resolution of the decades-old border issue with China “as soon as possible” even as he described as “positive” last week’s high-level military dialogue between the two sides on the current “tussle” in eastern Ladakh.
In an address at a virtual rally for the people in Maharashtra, Singh asserted that the government will not allow India’s pride and self-respect to be hurt at any cost, in an apparent reference to the border row with China in eastern Ladakh.
His comments indicating India’s resolve to deal with the row with a firm approach came even as the two armies remained engaged in the bitter confrontation in several areas in eastern Ladakh including Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso.
The defense minister also came down hard on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his remarks that the government should “come clean” and tell the country what is happening on the border with China.
“The talks held on June 6 were quite positive. India and China have agreed to continue the talks to resolve the border issue including the current tussle. I want to assure people that leadership of the country is in strong hands and we will not compromise on India’s pride and self-respect at any cost,” the defense minister said.
Hitting out at the opposition, he said the nation is led by a strong person like Narendra Modi and “don’t try to tell us what to do.”
Talking about decades-old border row with China, Singh said India wants its “resolution as soon as possible”, adding the military and diplomatic engagement between the two sides to end the current row continues.
The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long LAC. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it.
Both sides have been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas. The Chinese Army has been gradually ramping up its strategic reserves in its rear bases near the the LAC by rushing in artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles and heavy military equipment, the sources said.
The trigger for the face-off was China’s stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake besides construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.