New Delhi: The Ministry of Defence on Friday issued a strong statment rejecting Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's allegeation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has "ceded" Indian territory to the Chinese.
Gandhi attacked the government over its agreement with China on disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh.
His attack on the government came a day after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh assured Parliament that India has not conceded anything in the sustained talks with China and it will not allow even an inch of its territory to be taken away by anyone.
The Congress also termed the defence ministry's statement as "Operation cover-up to uncover the conspiratorial mask of a weak-kneed leadership of India", as it pointed out gaping holes in the version.
Here is the full text of the Ministry of Defence statement:
Ministry of Defence has taken note of some misinformed and misleading comments being amplified in the media and on social media regarding the disengagement currently underway at Pangong Tso.
At the outset, Ministry of Defence reiterates that the factual position has already been clearly communicated by the Raksha Mantri in his statements to both Houses of the Parliament.
However, it is necessary to set the record straight and counter certain instances of wrongly understood information being amplified in media and social media.
The assertion that Indian territory is upto Finger 4 is categorically false. The territory of India is as depicted by the map of India and includes more than 43,000 sq km currently under illegal occupation of China since 1962.
Even the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as per the Indian perception, is at Finger 8, not at Finger 4. That is why India has persistently maintained the right to patrol upto Finger 8, including in the current understanding with China.
Permanent posts of both sides at the north bank of Pangong Tso are longstanding and well-established. On the Indian side, it is Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3 and on the Chinese side, east of Finger 8. The current agreement provides for cessation of forward deployment by both sides and continued deployment at these permanent posts.
India has not conceded any territory as a result of this agreement. On the contrary, it has enforced observance and respect for LAC and prevented any unilateral change in the status quo.
Raksha Mantri’s statement also made clear that there are outstanding problems to be addressed, including at Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang. The outstanding issues are to be taken up within 48 hrs of the completion of the Pangong Tso disengagement.
The effective safeguarding of our national interest and territory in the Eastern Ladakh sector has taken place because the Government has reposed full faith in the capabilities of the armed forces. Those who doubt the achievements made possible by the sacrifices of our military personnel are actually disrespecting them.