Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on September 15 said that China was in illegal occupation of about 38,000 sq km of Indian land in Ladakh, besides laying claim to around 90,000 sq km of territory in Arunachal Pradesh.
"As the House is aware, China continues to be in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 sq km in the Union Territory of Ladakh. In addition, under the so-called Sino-Pakistan 'Boundary Agreement' of 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq km of Indian territory in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, to China. China also claims approximately 90,000 sq kms of Indian territory in the eastern sector of the India-China boundary in Arunachal Pradesh," the union minister said during the ongoing session in Lok Sabha.
He said the country was facing a challenge near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh even as the morale and motivation of Indian armed forces was high. Chinese actions, Singh said, reflected a clear disregard for the various bilateral agreements between the two countries. He added that it has been conveyed to China, through diplomatic and military channels, that such actions on its part are being seen as attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo in the region."India's position is that while bilateral relations can continue to develop in parallel with discussions on resolving the boundary question, any serious disturbance in peace and tranquility along the LAC in the border areas is bound to have implications for the positive direction of our ties," Singh said in the Lok Sabha.
Both India and China have formally agreed that the boundary question was a complex issue which required patience and a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through dialogue and peaceful negotiations, the union minister said.
He said the Chinese side had, however, mobilised a large number of troops and armaments along the LAC as well as in the depth areas of eastern Ladakh including Gogra, Kongka La and the North and South Banks of the Pangong Lake. Indian forces have also made appropriate counter deployments in these areas to ensure that India's security interests were fully protected.
"The House should have full confidence that our armed forces will always rise to the challenge and do us all proud," Singh said.
In early May, the minister said, the Chinese side had taken action to hinder the traditional patrolling pattern of troops in the Galwan Valley area, which resulted in a face-off. Given the growing friction along the LAC, senior commanders on both sides, in a meeting on June 6, agreed on a process of disengagement that involved reciprocal actions.
Singh said India was ready to handle any situation and the soldiers laid down their lives to ensure that Chinese designs were foiled pointing to the violent standoff at the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh earlier this year.
"The Chinese side created a violent face-off on June 15 at Galwan. Our brave soldiers laid down their lives and also inflicted costs including casualties on the Chinese side," Rajnath Singh told the House.
He reiterated that no one should doubt India's determination to safeguard the borders and that India believed that mutual respect and mutual sensitivity are the basis for peaceful relations with neighbours.
"As we want to resolve the current situation through dialogue, we have maintained diplomatic and military engagement with the Chinese side," he said.
Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Ladakh earlier this year ensured that the soldiers understand that the entire nation stands behind them in support of the just cause of defending our territorial integrity.
"I can assure you that the morale and motivation of our Armed Forces is very high. 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 on Siachen, and Kargil," he said.
He urged the House to pass a resolution in support of armed forces."This is a time when this august House has to come together and reiterate confidence and faith in the velour of the brave armed forces and support them in the mission that they have undertaken to protect the territorial integrity of our motherland," Singh said.