Has PM Modi Given Credibility to China’s Claim? Experts Weigh In

PM Modi said on Friday that there has been no Chinese incursion on Indian soil. Military officers & diplomats react

Updated
India
3 min read
PM Modi’s statement on Galwan Valley clashes stirs debate.
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Embassy of China in India put out a press note late on Friday night quoting China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian. This official statement has given a step-by-step account of the clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Patrolling Point No 14 in Galwan Valley region of Ladakh. It also aims to state China's position on settling this incident. This morning, Lijian has tweeted a thread stating the same:

The Chinese statement has come on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s iteration on 19 June “Neither have they intruded into our border, nor has any post been taken over by them (China). 20 of our jawans were martyred, but those who dared Bharat Mata, they were taught a lesson”. PM Modi spoke about the Galwan Valley clash at the all-party meet on India-China border issue.

While social media is abuzz with reactions to the two statements, here is what some of the senior members of the military and diplomatic establishment of India have to say:

Lt Gen (retd) Bhopinder Singh, a Rajput Regiment officer, was the Director General of Military Training before he retired in 2006. He later served as Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry. He shares following thoughts on the matter with The Quint:

The challenge is of enduring the status quo ante of the Galwan dispute, which ought to encompass three broad realms of ‘physical control’ - firstly the area that was with India, secondly the area that was with China, and thirdly and most importantly, the area that was effectively agreed to be ‘no man’s land’ - the true status quo ante would entail the retention of all three realms, without dilutions. The success of immediate negotiations depends on the restoration of that status.
Let Gen (retd) Bhopinder Singh

Vishnu Prakash, a former diplomat who served as India’s envoy to Canada and South Korea and an observer of India-China relations, minces no words in decrying the Chinese statement.

He tells The Quint, “The Chinese are adept at subterfuge, disinformation and violence to advance their strategic and diplomatic objectives. They are habitually economical with truth and given to fabricating narratives that blend facts and fiction. It is disingenuous, but not surprising, that the Chinese are trying to pin the blame on India, despite attempting, well coordinated large-scale incursions, to try and grab Indian territory along the LAC, including in the Galwan valley. They also staged a premeditated and barbaric attack on Indian troops contrary to all civilized behaviour, bilateral understandings and agreed protocols. Their claims on the Galwan valley are mischievous, fabricated and untenable.”

Lt Gen (retd) A K Singh, former Army Commander (South) and former Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry cautions about missing the woods for forests. His response to the statement by PM Modi is as follows:

“There is a need to understand that the Strategic view may be different from the Tactical view, which most of us are taking. Also, efforts to defuse the situation by both sides need to be supported at this stage. Many questions remain but these can be clarified later. I am sanguine the political and military hierarchy shall not let the sacrifice of our soldiers go in vain.”

Ambassador Vishnu Prakash also comments on Prime Minister Modi’s statement.

“Prime Minister Modi's categorical assurance to the nation that no one can take even an ‘inch of our land’ is most gratifying. He has also hailed the valour of the battle hardened Indian troops, observing - ‘Twenty of our jawans were martyred, but those who dared Bharat Mata, they were taught a lesson.’ India does not covet anyone's territory but has the capability to defend her own. With five visits to China and 18 meetings with President XI Jinping, over the last six years, PM Modi has spared no effort to find a modus vivendi with China. As the Chinese say those who tie the knot must untie it, the ball is now in the Chinese court.

Apart from these many members of India’s political, judicial, military and diplomatic establishments have taken to Twitter to express their opinion.

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