India favours dialogue to resolve issues related to the Line of Actual Control(LAC)but is ready to meet any challenge and give a befitting reply, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday. Visiting Ladakh, he also said the country will never forget the sacrifice of the ‘Galwan bravehearts.’
He was referring to the 20 Indian army personnel including the commanding officer who were killed in a brawl with the Chinese in the Galway valley on June 15 last year. At least 40 Chinese soldiers were also killed but Beijing is yet to officially confirm casualties.
On a three-day visit to Ladakh to oversee operational readiness of the armed forces, Rajnath said efforts should be made to find solution to issues through dialogue with neighbouring countries but at the same time noted that India will not tolerate if someone tries to threaten it.
Interacting with the troops in Leh, Rajnath also said: “We are the priests of world peace. Even when we take up weapons that is only to establish peace. Till date, India has neither attacked any country, nor have we captured an inch of land of any country.”
His remarks came days after the diplomatic-level talks between India and China were held last week under the aegis of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Co-ordination(WMCC). Both the sides reiterated their commitment to address the LAC through talks and agreed to hold the 12th round of Corps Commander level talks soon. The last round was held in April.
Stalemate prevails at three friction points with the armies of the two countries in a stand-off situation for the last one year. The sites include Hot Springs, Gogra and the Depsang Valley.
The two sides had disengaged from the southern and northern banks of the Pangong Tso(lake)in late February this year after ten months of eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation. However, after that no positive development regarding disengagement and de-escalation has taken place.