The document was the first official acknowledgment of China's intrusion into Indian territory amid the deadlock over troop disengagement
The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has removed a document from its website which admitted to China’s intrusion into Indian territory in Eastern Ladakh in May, after two days of uploading it, following a political controversy. The document which was titled “Chinese Aggression on LAC”, had first appeared on the news section of the MoD website. It was the first time that the Ministry had officially acknowledged that the People’s Liberation Army intruded into Indian territory in the areas of Kugrang Nala, Gogra and north bank of Pangong Tso lake on May 17 and May 18. This came amid the deadlock over troop disengagement on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) despite five rounds of commander-level talks.
The document mentioned the increasing aggression of Beijing’s military along the LAC especially in the Gulwan Valley since May 5, where the first military clash took place. It added that “ground level interactions” were held between the two troops to “defuse the situation”, referring to the Corps Commander-level meetings on June 6 and June 22. “However, a violent faceoff incident took place between the two sides on 15th June, 2020, resulting in casualties of both sides,” it said.
“While engagement and dialogue at military and diplomatic level is continuing to arrive at mutually acceptable consensus, the present standoff is likely to be prolonged,” the ministry said.
At an all-party meeting in June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had claimed that no one was inside the Indian territory of Ladakh, nor was any border post of the Indian Army captured by an outsider. After his statements were widely criticised, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had condemned the alleged efforts to portray a “mischievous interpretation” to the PM’s remarks. The PMO in a statement later said that the June 15 clash which led to the death of 20 soldiers had occurred because China was “seeking to erect structures just across the LAC”.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted asking, “Why is the PM lying?” while citing a report on the now deleted document. Gandhi has repeatedly accused the PM of surrendering to China, and also claimed that removing the document won’t change the fact that “China is in our territory”.
Why is the PM lying?https://t.co/sEAcOTsZsY
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 6, 2020
At a press conference, Congress leader Ajay Maken said that it was “surprising” that the Defence Ministry took the document down. “Are they trying to save the Prime Minister? We want to know from the government what is the truth. Is the Defence Ministry telling the truth or is the Prime Minister telling the truth? Earlier also, we saw the government speaking in different voices,” he said.