India sufficiently equipped to defend itself, says Arun Jaitley

Chinese Foreign Minister addresses the standoff for first time, says India must withdraw; State media calls NSA Doval ‘main schemer’ ahead of his Beijing visit

Published: 26th July 2017 07:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2017 07:54 AM   |  A+A-

File Photo of Indian Army Soldiers. | AP

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi claimed on Tuesday that New Delhi had “admitted” to entering his country’s territory. Making his first remark on the current standoff at the Bhutan border, Wang Yi said the solution was for Indian troops to “conscientiously withdraw” from the Doklam area.

“The rights and wrongs are very clear. Even senior Indian officials have openly stated that Chinese troops did not enter into the Indian territory,” he said in Bangkok on Monday. “In other words, the Indian side has admitted to entering the Chinese territory. The solution to this problem is very simple: conscientiously withdraw.”

The issue is expected to be discussed during the visit of National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to Beijing on July 27 and 28. Doval would be attending a meeting of security advisers of BRICS nations. The Chinese State media, however, were divided over the possible outcome of Doval’s visit.

While China Daily was hopeful of a “peaceful resolution” to the deadlock, Global Times called the Indian NSA the “main schemer” and said “his trip wouldn’t sway Beijing”. The Global Times editorial, ‘Doval visit won’t sway China over border standoff’, said Beijing would not talk until Indian troops were withdrawn.

Earlier on Monday, the Chinese military warned that it would defend “its territory at all costs.” Responding to the threat, vice chief of Indian Army Lt Gen Sarath Chand said China would continue to remain a threat for the country in future. “Despite having the Himalayas between us, China is bound to be a threat for us in the years ahead,” Lt Gen Sarath Chand said at an event in national capital.

His views were supported by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, who informed Parliament that Indian forces were “reasonably and sufficiently equipped” to defend sovereignty of the country. Questions on the Army’s preparedness were also raised in the Upper House, with opposition members bringing up the issue of “critical shortage ammunition”.

The questions were based on a CAG report that said the army faces a shortfall of 40 per cent, that is, 61 out of 152 types of ammunition available were meant for less than 10 days of fighting. The army is supposed to hold stocks of ammunition for 40 days of an intense war. To this, Jaitley claimed the CAG report had the year 2013 as a reference point while there have been follow-ups.

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