China not honouring customary alignment of boundary with India: Rajnath Singh

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Union defence minister Rajnath Singh spoke in Parliament on Tuesday on the border standoff with China in Ladakh, saying that China is not honouring the customary alignment of the boundary with India.

He said that the alignment has not only been defined by treaties, but has been maintained historically. However, China believes that the border is not defined, he added and warned that any serious situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is bound to impact bilateral ties.

The defence minister also paid tribute to the 20 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting the Chinese army in the Galwan clash on June 15.

Terming the border issue a complex one, Singh said that both countries have agreed to resolve it peacefully. There are many agreements and protocols between both the countries to maintain peace and tranquility on the border, he added.

Singh’s statement comes amid rising tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh after a series of recent maneuvers by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Indian Army in the Pangong Tso area.

Corps commander-ranked officers have already met five times to discuss the issue but failed to break the deadlock. Military officials are likely to meet again this week. This will be their first meeting after the Indian Army swiftly moved and occupied key heights to prevent the PLA from grabbing Indian territory on the southern bank of Pangong Tso in a stealthy midnight move on August 29.

The defence minister’s statement also assumes significance in the backdrop of demands made by the Opposition for a debate on the issue.