Tuesday, May 28
Army deployed in Ladakh to stop any attempt of infiltration along LAC: EAM Jaishankar

Army deployed in Ladakh to stop any attempt of infiltration along LAC: EAM Jaishankar

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Dismisses Wangchuk’s allegations on Land encroachment
LEH: Dismissing Ladakh-based climate activist Sonam Wangchuk’s allegation that China has encroached upon Indian territory in the union territory, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday asserted that the Indian Army is deployed to stop any attempt of infiltration along the Line of Actual Control.

He also said that Arunachal Pradesh was, is, and will remain an Indian state in the future, days after China released 30 new names of various places in the border state along the LAC.

The Minister’s remarks have come in the backdrop of the nearly-four-year border row with China in eastern Ladakh.

The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong Lake area. Ties between the two countries nose-dived significantly following the clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.

On Monday, while addressing a press conference in Surat, Jaishankar was asked his view on allegations made by Ladakh-based climate activist Sonam Wangchuk that China has encroached upon Indian territory in the cold desert and he responded that the Indian Army knows what to do in such situations.

“Every activist has his own thoughts,” Jaishankar said, referring to Wangchuk’s claims.

“See, you all know that our Army is already deployed there to stop any attempt of infiltration along the Line of Actual Control. The Army knows what they are supposed to do,” he said.

Wangchuk, whose 21-day hunger strike in support of the demand for statehood for Ladakh and its inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution ended last week, has announced a ‘border march’ to be held on April 7 in the eastern part of the Union territory to highlight ground realities, including alleged encroachments by China.

Addressing a gathering last week, Wangchuk had said that the Leh-based Apex body will lead the border march to Changthang (in the east of Leh along the border with China) to highlight the ground realities of Ladakh and alleged that nomads were losing prime pasture land to huge industrial plants to the south and Chinese encroachments to the north.

“The Changthang grazers, famous for producing Pashmina wool, are being forced to sell their animals because over 20,000 acres of grazing land was taken by industrialists to set up their plants… we do not want solar energy at the cost of our people’s livelihood and dislocation,” he claimed.

“They are taking away our land because there are no safeguards available…,” Wangchuk had alleged.
On Monday, Jaishankar also asserted that Arunachal Pradesh was, is, and will remain an Indian state in the future.

“Nothing will be gained by changing the names,” he said, days after China released 30 new names of various places in the border state.

“If I change the name of your house, will it become mine? Arunachal Pradesh was an Indian state, is an Indian state and will remain so in the future. Nothing will be gained by changing names,” said the external affairs minister, who is on a two-day visit to Gujarat.

He was responding to a question on Beijing’s latest move to re-emphasise its claim over the Indian state.

The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs released the fourth list of standardised geographical names in Zangnan, the Chinese name for Arunachal Pradesh which Beijing claims as part of south Tibet, state-run Global Times reported on Sunday.

The official website of the ministry posted 30 additional names for the region. Queried on Indians being hired and forced to fight alongside the Russian Army on the Russia-Ukraine border, Jaishankar said the Indian government has “strongly” raised this issue before its Russian counterpart after two Indians died in the war zone.

He also said efforts are on to bring back 23 to 24 Indians who were wrongfully hired to serve in the Russian Army.

“So far, two Indians have lost their lives. It took some time to bring their bodies back from Russia because it was not that easy. We raised this issue strongly before Russia, be it our Ambassador in Moscow or our external affairs secretary meeting the Russian Ambassador in New Delhi,” said the external affairs minister.

He said India’s stand is very clear on this issue. “This is totally wrong. An Indian must never serve in some other country’s army. If any middlemen are involved in hiring Indians, then it is the responsibility of Russia to stop them. We are trying to bring back nearly 23 to 24 Indians who are still there,” Jaishankar added.

Later, speaking at a corporate summit on “Bharat’s Economic Rising,” organised by the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI), he said that to compete with China on the economic front, India should focus on manufacturing, a key sector which was ignored by governments before Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

He noted that tension at the border with China has caused “abnormality” in New Delhi-Beijing relations, and added India’s thinking is absolutely clear that unless there is peace and stability in the border areas, the ties between the two Asian powers will not improve.

“If we have to compete with China, which we should, then its solution is that we should focus on manufacturing here. Our approach towards manufacturing has changed after Modiji came to power. Before that, people did not give much emphasis on manufacturing,” Jaishankar said during his interaction with industry leaders at the programme.

There is no other way to counter China on the economic front, insisted the career diplomat-turned-politician while replying to questions from audience members on how he saw India’s relationship with the world’s second largest economy as it moves towards becoming a USD 5 trillion economy.

“If we talk of rising Bharat, it will rise through technology. You cannot build strong technology on weak manufacturing. At any cost, we should put special emphasis on manufacturing, because that is the only economic response,” the Union minister maintained.

Jaishankar, a former Ambassador to China, emphasised that tension at the border has affected Sino-Indian ties.

“As you know, there is tension at the border (with China). And this has caused abnormality in our relations. For that our thinking is very clear that unless there is peace and stability at the border, the relations will remain in the same deteriorated condition,” he noted.

Asked about relationship with Pakistan which remains strained and New Delhi’s fight against terrorism sponsored from across the border, Jaishankar asserted India should never compromise on terrorism.

“For us to tolerate, justify (terrorism) — are all wrong. The only response to terrorism is counter-terrorism. And they should understand this to make it a deterrent,” he further said. (Agencies)

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