India’s defense minister admitted on Thursday that the country faces challenges in its border disputes with China and urged Beijing to sincerely implement an agreement reached to demobilize the soldiers.
Rajnath Singh said in a statement to the Upper House of the Indian Parliament that China had accumulated troops and weapons in Ladakh, in violation of bilateral agreements signed in the 1990s, and that it was creating friction by trying to change unilaterally. the status of the region.
The defense minister said the Chinese moves in India were unacceptable and warned China that “we can start a war, but the end is not in our hands.”
India wants a peaceful solution through negotiations, he said.
Foreign ministers of the two countries met in Moscow a week ago and agreed to ease tensions in Ladakh, but Singh’s remarks in parliament suggest resolving the standoff will be a long process.
He also said India had sent troops who thwarted “China’s attempts at transgression.”
“We have to be convinced that our armed forces will manage to deal with the situation,” Singh said.
Relations between the two countries have been strained, in part because of their unmarked border.
In 1962, they waged a war in the Ladakh region, which ended in an uncomfortable truce. Since then, troops have protected the indefinite border area, sometimes getting involved in clashes.
The stalemate resulted in a deadly clash last June that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
Singh said India inflicted “heavy” losses on Chinese forces, but did not provide details. China also did not give details.
After the clash, the two countries partially withdrew from the site, in the Galwan Valley and at least two other locations, but the crisis continued in three other regions, including the glacial lake of Pangong.
The Indian minister said the stalemate was due to divergent perceptions in the fiercely contested royal line of control that separates the Chinese and Indian territories of Ladakh in the west and the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Singh said India has doubled its budget to build roads, bridges and other infrastructure along the border, to match China’s infrastructure, in case it needs to mobilize forces. .
“We are fully prepared to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country,” he said, adding that China continues to occupy nearly 38,000 square kilometers of indigenous land in Ladakh.