Befitting reply to those coveting India’s territory: PM on Ladakh face-off

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India gave a befitting response to those who eyed Indian territory in Ladakh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday referring to the violent stand-off between India and China along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh without naming China.

Indian and Chinese troops had clashed in Galwan Valley on June 15 in which 20 Indian Army soldiers, including the commanding officer of 16 Bihar Regiment, were killed.

India has shown the world its sense of fraternity during the coronavirus pandemic as well its strength and commitment to protecting its sovereignty and borders, PM Modi said as he addressed Mann Ki Baat, his monthly radio programme.

“In Ladakh, a befitting reply has been given those coveting ur territories. India knows how to maintain friendships but it can also look someone in the eye and retaliate and give an apt reply,” PM Modi said during the 66th episode of Mann Ki Baat.

“Our brave soldiers have shown that they will not let any harm be done to Mother India’s pride. India bows to our brave martyrs. They have always kept India safe. Their valour will always be remembered,” he added.

This is the first Mann Ki Baat episode after the face-off in Ladakh.

The Prime Minister also extended his condolences to the families of the soldiers who were killed in the Galwan Valley clash.

“The inner sense of pride that families feel on the supreme sacrifice of their brave sons and their sentiment for the country, constitutes the true power and the might of the country.”

The external affairs ministry has squarely blamed China for the standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), saying China had massed troops along the disputed frontier since May, violated a recent understanding to disengage in Galwan Valley and disregarded all mutually agreed norms for border patrols.

Accusing China of triggering several face-offs by trying to unilaterally change the status quo along the LAC, the Indian side rejected the Chinese side’s “unjustified and untenable” claim on Galwan Valley.

The statement also acknowledged both sides “remain deployed in large numbers in the region”.