He suggested the clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in the Galwan valley in Ladakh on June 15 — in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, 76 injured and 10 were taken captive (who were later released) — were because his government had invested in improving border infrastructure that helped increase patrolling by the Indian side.
The PM said that “we are better informed about the developments at LAC (Line of Actual Control) and consequently are able to monitor and respond better”.
“The movement of those which used to take place without any disruption earlier is now checked by our jawans which, at times, leads to building up of tension,” he told leaders of 20 political parties during a meeting via video conferencing.
In the aftermath of the incident, the Ministry of External Affairs has accused the Chinese of not only violating the LAC, but seeking to alter it. However, according to a government press release issued after the all-party meeting to discuss the situation in India-China border areas, the PM “clarified that neither is anyone inside our territory nor is any of our post captured”.
Modi said the entire country was hurt and angry at the steps taken by China. “The army has been given the freedom to take necessary steps. India has also conveyed its position clearly to China through diplomatic means,” he said.
The PM said 20 of India’s “brave soldiers made the supreme sacrifice” in Ladakh, but also taught “a lesson to those who dared to look towards our motherland”.
All political parties, including those in the Opposition, expressed solidarity with the government and extended support. Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi
and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar sought to know if there was an intelligence failure and if Chinese troops had occupied Indian territory.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal, Aam Aadmi Party, Janata Dal (Secular), and AIMIM complained that they were not invited to the meeting.
In his nearly half an hour speech, the PM said that while India wants peace and friendship, upholding sovereignty is foremost.
He said armed forces have been given a free hand to take all necessary steps, and the government has given primacy to development of border area infrastructure to make our borders more secure. “All necessary steps for national
security and construction of infrastructure will continue at a fast pace,” he said. According to sources, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
said there was no intelligence failure.