India will respond firmly to any transgression on LAC: PMO

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was clear that India would respond firmly to any transgression attempts at the Line of Actual Control, his office clarified on Saturday and countered opposition’s attack, saying “attempts are being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation” to his remark at the All-Party Meeting held on Friday on Galwan stand-off.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said, the PM specifically emphasized Indian forces now decisively counter any violations on LAC (unhe rokte hain, unhe tokte hain) in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges.

PMO’s clarification followed former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s accusation on Prime Minister Modi of surrendering Indian territory to China.

“PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression. If the land was Chinese: 1. Why were our soldiers killed? 2. Where were they killed?,” Gandhi tweeted on Saturday, a day after the all party meet.

The opposition leaders were also informed that this time, Chinese forces have come in much larger strength to the LAC and that the Indian response is commensurate, the PMO said.

With regard to transgression on LAC, the PMO says, it was clearly stated that the violence in Galwan valley on June 15 arose because Chinese side was seeking to set up structures just across the LAC and refused to desist from such actions.

The focus of the PM’s remarks in the all party meet was the events of June 15 at Galwan Valley that led to the loss of lives of 20 Indian military personnel, said the PMO.

“Prime Minister paid glowing tributes to the valour and patriotism of our armed forces who repulsed the designs of the Chinese there. The Prime Minister’s observations that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces.”

The sacrifices of the soldiers of the 16 Bihar Regiment foiled the attempt of the Chinese side to set up structures and also cleared the attempted transgression at this point of the LAC on that day, the PMO statement said.

The words of Prime Minister — “those who tried to transgress our land were taught a befitting lesson by our brave sons of soil”, succinctly summed up the ethos and the values of our armed forces, the PMO said.

As per the PMO, the Prime Minister further emphasised, “I want to assure you, that our armed forces will leave no stone unturned to protect our borders.”

What is Indian territory is clear from the map of India, the Prime Minister said in the all party meet and that the government was strongly and resolutely committed to that. In so far as there is some illegal occupation, the PMO said, the opposition leaders were briefed in great detail how over the last 60 years, more than 43,000 sq km has been yielded under circumstances with which this country is well aware of.

It was also made clear that this government will not allow any unilateral change of the LAC. At a time when our brave soldiers are defending our borders, it is unfortunate that an unnecessary controversy is being created to lower their morale, the PMO said. However, it said, the predominant sentiment at the all party meet was of unequivocal support to the government and the armed forces at a time of national crisis.

“We are confident that the unity of the Indian people will not be undermined by motivated propaganda.”

The attack on Indian Army personnel by Chinese People’s Liberation Army happened on June 15 night and it continued for almost six to seven hours.

On June 16, Indian Army stated that 20 of their men, including officers, were killed in an unprecedented violent clash with PLA troops at Galwan Valley.

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