Gave interview to PTI on #GalwanValley Incident. Onus is not on #China. We are willing & able to properly manage differences. Mutual respect&support is sure way. Suspicion&friction is wrong path. Will jointly uphold peace&stability in border areas, ensure sound&steady relations.— Sun Weidong (@China_Amb_India) June 25, 2020
India and China on Wednesday agreed to ensure expeditious implementation of the understanding on disengagement of troops from eastern Ladakh as decided in a meeting of senior military commanders on June 6, the Ministry of External Affairs said. The two sides held diplomatic talks through video conference on the border standoff in midst of fresh details emerging that China has strengthened its position in several areas in eastern Ladakh including Galwan Valley where a violent clash on June 15 left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
People aware of the development said China has significantly ramped up its military presence in several other key sectors along the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Uttarakhand.
Here are the major developments we know so far following the Galwan Valley face-off between the two sides:
Indian and Chinese troops remain deployed in large numbers at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Ministry of External Affairs on June 25, a day after top leaders from both countries agreed to deescalate tensions. The foreign ministry's statement indicates that the Indo-China border remains tense after the June 15 lethal clashes, despite India and China agreeing to implement disengagement during Corp Commander talks and diplomatic negotiations.
However, there is no clarity on the terms of the disengagement or the timeline agreed upon between the neighbours. For the first time, the Indian Foreign Ministry admitted that China's troop build-up since early May had set alarm bells going. "At the heart of the matter is that since early May, the Chinese side has been amassing a large contingent of troops and armaments along the LAC. This is not in accordance with the provisions of our various bilateral agreements," said Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs.
In a fresh attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi the Congress said that he is misleading the country by making contradictory statements on Chinese transgressions. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, the party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala and Pawan Khera questioned: "Isn't the PM undermining their morale
Is it in national interest for the PM to mislead the nation?" The Congress referred to satellite images of the location and said that the China has come up to Finger 4. "Has Chinese Army come and erected their tents on PP-14 point in Pangong Tso Lake area from Finger 4-8? Are they trying to make fresh incursions? The PM must come clean and take the nation into confidence," said Khera. Further, the Congress said that Modi at the all-party meeting made a shocking remark saying that no one entered Indian territory, nor were Indian posts taken over.
The Chinese media was quick to lap up the comment where Modi himself gave a clean chit to the Chinese Army.
The Ministry of External Affairs confirmed on June 25 that both Indian and Chinese personnel remain deployed at the LAC in large numbers. According to CNBC-TV18, the MEA said that the deployments need to be understood in a larger context.
China has been amassing troops and armaments at the LAC in large numbers, which led India to undertake counter-deployment. The conduct of Chinese forces is in complete disregard to established norms, the MEA said.
"Looks like India is admitting that all is not well and there is substantial troop deployment by both sides," CNBC-TV18 reported.
An association of more than 3,000 budget hotels and restaurants in the national capital has decided to boycott Chinese goods as well as not provide accommodation to Chinese nationals amid border standoff with China. The Delhi Hotels and Restaurant Owners Association has written to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) informing about the decision and the grouping's full support to CAIT's boycott Chinese goods campaign.
Against the backdrop of violent clashes earlier this month between India and China in Eastern Ladakh that killed 20 Indian Army personnel, there has been a growing clamour in certain quarters for boycotting Chinese products. Delhi Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association General Secretary Mahendra Gupta said they will not take bookings or serve Chinese nationals and have also decided to boycott using Chinese goods in their establishments.
The Congress on Thursday demanded that the government convene a virtual session of Parliament to discuss important issues before the country, especially the border standoff with China.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said during the 1962 war, then BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee demanded that a session of Parliament be convened to discuss it and then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru accepted his demand.
"A session of Parliament should be convened to discuss important issues. The Parliamentary Committees are also not meeting, even when there are key issues to be discussed," Khera said at a press conference.
The Congress leader said Parliament is the only medium where everyone can discuss the key issues and together work out a strategy to deal with them.
Earlier, Congress Party spokesperson Manish Tewari on Wednesday accused the government of hiding behind rules to escape parliamentary oversight and demanded that a session be held soon to answer key queries of opposition parties.
"This government has walked the extra mile to hide behind rules, to escape parliamentary oversight. This is nothing short of the emasculation of Parliament," he said.
"Unfortunately, presiding officers of both the Houses should have walked the extra mile to prevail upon the government, not should try to subvert Parliament in this manner and escape parliamentary oversight," he said.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram termed as "extraordinary demand" the assertion of China's Foreign Ministry and PLA as they again laid claim to the entire Galwan Valley and demanded that India vacate the area.
Chidambaram said that contrary to what Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated it was undeniable that the status quo was changed by Chinese troops in April-June 2020.
"People are watching if the Modi government will succeed in restoring the status quo ante," he tweeted.
"Will BJP-led NDA government once again reassert India's claim and demand that 'status quo ante' must be restored," the former union minister asked.
Amid reports of Chinese build-up at the border, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday said India should force China back by all means as its arsenal is not meant for "hatching eggs". Chowdhury also noted that India is in a "catch-22 situation" and should not allow it to be cowed down by the "red army".
"China is furtively and fervently encroaching our land in a steady manner, much to the peril of Indian security and territorial integrity. It is a catch-22 situation for us, but we cannot afford ourselves to be cowed down by the red army," he said on Twitter.
"They are to be repulsed back by whatever means, our arsenals are not meant for hatching eggs, so strike back, drive back, force back the Chinese aggression, god will be Indian in deciding the course of conflict," he also said in another tweet.
Chowdhury, the leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, said in spite of all endeavours to diffuse the tense situation along the Line of Actual Control which even resulted in the death of 20 Army personnel, China is hell-bent upon altering the status quo.
Some exporters have raised concerns over consignments being held back by Hong Kong and Chinese customs in response to a similar action allegedly being taken by Indian authorities at the Chennai port, FIEO said on Thursday.
"We have been given to understand that customs is physically examining all imports from China which is delaying clearance, adding to the cost of imports," PTI quoted Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President S K Saraf said in a letter to Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan.
He said that some exporters have informed that, in response to such action, Hong Kong and Chinese customs are also holding back export consignments from India.
Import shipments originating from China and Hong Kong are held back at major Indian seaports and airports since Monday, sources with knowledge of the matter have told CNBC-TV18.
Customs authorities in Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad have ordered these consignments to undergo a “100 percent examination” at the item-level, leading to significant delays. Even those shipments which have been given an Out of Charge (OOC) order are being held back at ports and container freight stations.
Authorities have instructed that "Open and de-stuff all container cargo and examine 100 percent (all packages) at the item level. Verify declared quantity, description, address, other notification claimed valuation, and check for concealment", according to information accessed by CNBC-TV18.
China accounts for about 14 percent of India's imports and is a major supplier for sectors like mobiles, telecom, power, plastic toys and critical pharma ingredients. During April 2019-February 2020, India imported goods worth $62.4 billion, while exports to the neighbouring country stood at $15.5 billion in the same period. India has time and again raised concerns over widening trade deficit with China which stood at about $47 billion during April-February 2019-20.