India-China Border Dispute: Key Developments Since Galwan Face-Off
From PM Modi calling an all-party meet to all defence forces being on highest alert.
About 20 Indian army personnel lost their lives on Monday, 15 June, in clashes between Chinese troops and the Indian Army at the Galwan Valley along the India-China border in the eastern region of Ladakh.
As many as 35 troops have died or have been injured on the Chinese side as well, PTI reported on Wednesday, citing official sources, who in turn quoted US intelligence reports.
The physical clashes came after a massive military build-up in the region from both sides over the last three weeks.
The clashes and loss of Indian lives has taken the nation by storm since Tuesday, 16 June. Here are some key developments that took place since the incident.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Calls All-Party Meet On 19 June
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for an all-party meeting on Friday 19 June at 5pm to discuss the India-China border situation.
Presidents of various political parties would take part in the meeting, tweeted the Prime Minister's Office.
This was the first statement to come out of the PM's office, 24 hours since the clashes.
In an address later, before the start of a scheduled meeting with chief ministers on the coronavirus crisis, the prime minister observed two minutes of silence for the Indian soldiers who had lost their lives.
"No one should be in any doubt. India wants peace but when provoked, it is capable of giving a fitting reply, be it any situation," PM Modi said.
China Claims Sovereignty Over Galwan Valley After Years
China on Wednesday, 17 June, claimed that the Galwan Valley "always belonged to it", reported PTI.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, refused to comment on reports of over 43 casualties on the Chinese side. He further said that both parties were trying to resolve the situation through military and diplomatic channels and were in "close communication".
Meanwhile, Major General level talks are underway at the Valley in order to defuse the situation, reported news agency ANI.
All Three Defence Forces On Highest Level Of Alert
CNN News18 reported that the Army, Air force and Navy have been instructed to "prepare for the worst", after the three service chiefs, the Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had a meeting on 17 June.
The report also stated that the local commanding officer was instructed to "give a befitting reply, irrespective of what the Standard Operating Procedure says”.
The government has also given powers to the forces to make "emergency procurements" to stock up their war reserves, reported The Economic Times.
The Navy has also been told to make deployments near the Malacca Strait and anywhere in the Indo-Pacific, if need be, stated the report.
Air force assets have also been moved to forward positions.
More units of the army have been moved to Ladakh from Kashmir and road use has also been restricted.
Seven-Hour-Long Major General Level Meeting Held On 16 June
A seven-hour-long Major General level meeting was held after the clashes on Tuesday, 16 June, reported CNN News18. While the Indian side raised the issue of disengagement, the Chinese side brought up the issue of movement of labour and construction at various places along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
"Ground commanders had a series of meetings to implement the consensus reached at a higher level. While it was our expectation that this would unfold smoothly, the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the Line of Actual Control in the Galwan Valley," the Ministry of External Affairs said.
UN Expresses Concern Over Situation In LAC, US Closely Monitoring Situation
"United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over the violence and deaths at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and urged both sides to exercise "maximum restraint," said Guterres' spokesperson on 16 June at a press briefing.
Meanwhile, the United States of America has said that it is closely monitoring the situation in the India-China border.
"We note the Indian military has announced that 20 soldiers have died, and we offer our condolences to their families," a spokesperson from the US Department of State said. Both India and China have expressed a desire to de-escalate, and we support a peaceful resolution of the current situation, he added.
Alert In Lahaul-Spiti & Kannaur Districts of Himachal Pradesh
The Himachal Pradesh Police has issued an alert in the Lahaul-Spiti and Kannaur districts of the state. State police spokesperson, Khushal Sharma, said that an alert and advisory had been issued to the local population to take all measures to ensure their own safety. The state intelligence units have also been alerted to collect intelligence in order to plan the future course of action, reported PTI.
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