Days after Chinese President Xi Jinping told his soldiers to “put their minds and energy on preparing for war” amid the ongoing Ladakh conflict, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday asserted that India is always ready for a battle. Shah added that the Army will not let China occupy even an inch of India’s territory.
Since 5 May 2020, China and Indian troops have engaged in aggressive melee, face-offs and skirmishes at locations along the sino-Indian border, including near the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous Region, and near the border between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Notably, tensions between India and China soared following the Galwan Valley clashes that left 20 soldiers on the Indian side dead. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) also suffered an unspecified number of casualties. Despite military-level talks between both countries, no consensus to resolve the five-month-long dispute has been reached so far.
The high-altitude standoff along the eastern section of what’s known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a loose demarcation, risks dramatically altering the already fraught relationship between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
On Friday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said that the presence of a large number of Chinese troops with weapons at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) posed a “very critical” security challenge to India. Recalling the Galwan Valley clashes, Jaishankar had added they had a very deep public and political impact, and left the relationship between India and China profoundly disturbed.