NEW DELHI: Admitting that China was trying to obstruct the Indian Army's traditional patrolling of areas along the LAC, defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that no power in the world can stop Indian soldiers from doing so and assured that there will be no change in the pattern.
Clarifying in the Rajya Sabha following a statment on the ongoing India-China standoff at the LAC in Ladakh, Singh said India will not accept any change in the traditional and well-defined patrolling pattern.
Replying to a query by former defence minister AK Antony if Indian soldiers are being stopped from entering areas they used to patrol earlier, Singh said: "I want to clarify that the faceoff is because of this and patrolling is done on the traditional pattern. No power in the world can stop our soldiers from patrolling and there will be no change in the pattern."
The defence minister said he would not like to explain in more detail, keeping in mind the sensitivity of the matter.
Rajya Sabha members expressed solidarity with the Indian armed forces and said they all stand united behind them.
Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu told Singh that the government should create a mechanism where members of all political parties are taken into confidence and regularly briefed about the situation.
Many Rajya Sabha members said that the government should be careful when dealing with Beijing keeping in mind their characteristic to "betray".
The defence minister said India remains committed to resolving the current issues through peaceful dialogue and consultations.
"It was in pursuit of this objective that I met my Chinese counterpart on 4th September in Moscow and had an in-depth discussion with him. I conveyed in clear terms our concerns related to the actions of the Chinese side, including amassing of large number of troops, their aggressive behavior and attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo that were in violation of the bilateral agreements. I also made it clear that even as we wanted to peacefully resolve the issue and would like the Chinese side to work with us, there should also be no doubt about our determination to protect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," he told the upper House.
On the current situation, he said that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met the Chinese Foreign Minister in Moscow on September 10.
"The two have reached an agreement that, if implemented sincerely and faithfully by the Chinese side, could lead to complete disengagement and restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas," he said.
Caalling the present situation different from the past, Singh said, "In the past too we have had situations of prolonged stand-offs in our border areas with China which have been resolved peacefully. Even though the situation this year is very different both in terms of scale of troops involved and the number of friction points, we do remain committed to the peaceful resolution of the current situation. At the same time, the House can be assured that we remain prepared to deal with all contingencies."
"I can assure you that the morale and motivation of our armed forces is very high. The reassuring visit by our PM has ensured that our commanders and soldiers understand that the entire nation stands behind them in support of the just cause of defending our territorial integrity. They are accordingly being provisioned with suitable clothing, habitat and the required defence wherewithal. The determination of our troops is praiseworthy. They are capable of serving at forbidding altitudes with scarce oxygen and in extremely cold temperatures, something that they have effortlessly done over the last many years at Siachen and Kargil," he added.
The minister said he will not hesitate to say that the country is facing a challenge in Ladakh. "This is a time when this august House has to come together and reiterate confidence and faith in the valour of our brave armed forces and support them in the mission that they have undertaken to protect the territorial integrity of our motherland," he added.