Naravane rejected China’s land boundary law that came into force on January 1, saying it was not legally binding on India.
As Indian and Chinese Corps Commanders met for the 14th round of discussions to resolve the 21-month-long standoff in eastern Ladakh, Army Chief General MM Naravane Wednesday said the Chinese threat in the region had not reduced in any way despite partial disengagement at multiple friction points.
Speaking to the reporters ahead of Army Day on January 15, Naravane also rejected China’s land boundary law that came into force on January 1, saying it was not legally binding on India.
“This law will have no bearing on our bilateral relations and that we do not accept it as such,” he said. “India and China have many other agreements and protocols which predate this new law that they have passed. And any new law which is not binding on other countries and which is not legally tenable and is not in keeping with the agreements that we have had in the past, obviously cannot be binding on us.”
The law, passed amid the standoff, stipulates that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China are sacred and inviolable”. It has sparked concerns that it could have a bearing on the dispute along the Line of Actual Control.
Naravane said the situation along the LAC “is stable and under control”. He added, however, that India is in a position “to meet whatever is thrown at us in the future”. “War or conflict is always an instrument of last resort. But if resorted to, we will come out victorious.”
On the talks with China on Wednesday, Naravane said: “We are hopeful that we will be able to resolve the issues at PP15 (Hot Springs), which is the one which is pending as of now”.
Once that is done, he said, “we will go on to the other issues which pre-date the current standoff, we are hopeful that too we will get resolved from time to time”.
The two other unresolved points are Depsang Plains, where Chinese troops are blocking Indian soldiers from accessing their five traditional patrolling points; and Demchok, where some “civilians” have pitched tents on the Indian side of the LAC.
The talks began Wednesday morning on the Chinese side of the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting point. The Indian side was led by XIV Corps commander Lt Gen Anindya Sengupta, and the Chinese side by Maj Gen Yang Lin, commander of South Xinjiang Military District.
Stressing on the need for dialogue, he said it is unreasonable to expect an outcome after every round of discussions.
“A number of rounds will be required to deal with this situation and resolve them, one at a time,” said the Army Chief. “While we say that, while there has been partial disengagement, the threat has in no way reduced. The force levels are more or less the same, and from our side they have been enhanced.”
During the press briefing, Naravane touched on a range of issues including the botched Army ambush in Nagaland, the state of the borders with Pakistan and Myanmar, and the situation in J&K. He said the Court of Inquiry is expected to submit in a day or two its report into the December 4 Army operation in Nagaland that left seven civilians dead . Terming the episode “highly regrettable”, he said: “Based on the findings of the inquiry, appropriate action will be taken. I would like to clarify that the law of the land is paramount, and we will always uphold that and will take action as required in upholding the law of the land.”
Source: The Indian Express