JAMMU: Indian troops are defending every inch of the border with China and not even a single inch of land has been taken over by the neighbouring country in recent years, Ladakh Lieutenant Governor Brig (Retd) B D Mishra said on September 14.
He said infrastructure development is taking place at a rapid pace across Ladakh with roads, helipads, airfields, tunnels and bridges being built, and India will catch up with China in that regard within next four-five years.
Brig (retd) Mishra was in Jammu in connection with a three-day north-tech symposium which concluded at IIT Jammu on Wednesday.
The event provided a platform for engagement between the academia and industry to devise unique solutions to meet the army’s operational requirements in northern command, while promoting self-reliance in defence production and technology proliferation.
“If there is any match to them (China) in Asia, it is India. China is a nefarious country. So right from the very beginning, they have been having this policy to contain, to threaten and to coerce India. So they have been doing it for last two, three decades,” the LG told a wire agency.
Brig. (retd) Mishra said India started infrastructure development in the region about six seven years back.
“But the way we are developing our infrastructure like roads, helipads, airfields, tunnels and bridges, during next four or five years we will catch up with China and we will be as good, if not better, on infrastructure on our borders as China,” the Lt Governor said.
Asked about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks last month that every individual in Ladakh knows that China has “taken away our land”, he said the fact on the ground is that the neighbouring country has not occupied even one square inch of Indian land in the recent years.
“I would not comment on what a particular person has said or what a particular person is saying. I would give you an answer based on my own tour, observation and on seeing the facts on the ground. The fact is they (Chinese) are not in occupation of even one square inch of land of India,” the Lt Governor said.
Brig (retd) Mishra said Indian troops are defending the borders and they are defending every inch of it.
“Anybody who says what is well up to him, but the fact is that not even a single inch of land of India is under Chinese occupation. Whatever has happened in 1962 (during the India-China war), that is a past story… That is a separate issue but when I am talking to present and according to our own definition of Line of Actual control, we are present there,” he said.
During his nine-day tour of Ladakh last month, Mr. Gandhi raked up the border issue twice at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a conversation on the sidelines of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit in Johannesburg.
The conversation was not a structured bilateral meeting and was an informal one.
“I visited the whole of Ladakh on my motorcycle over the past week…Ladakh is a strategic place and when I was at Pangong lake, one thing was clear that China had taken over thousands of kilometers of Indian land. Unfortunately, the prime minister during an opposition meeting makes a statement that not an inch of our land was taken away which is ‘absolutely false’,” Mr. Gandhi had told a public meeting on the last day of his tour of Ladakh on August 25.
“Every individual of Ladakh knows that China has taken away our land and the prime minister is not speaking the truth,” he alleged.
The ties between India and China came under severe strain following the eastern Ladakh border row that began in May, 2020.
The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year confrontation in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks