Govt dismisses questions over Pangong Lake disengagement as ‘misinformed’, ‘misleading’

at 3:39 pm

New Delhi (NVI): The government today sought to address questions raised over the terms of disengagement with China in Pangong Lake area of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), asserting that it was “categorically false” to say that the Indian territory is “upto Finger 4” in the area.

In a statement issued hours after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi raised questions at a press conference here, the Ministry of Defence said it has taken note of “some misinformed and misleading comments being amplified in the media and on social media regarding the disengagement currently underway at Pangong Tso (lake).”

The disengagement in the north and south of Pangong Lake of Eastern Ladakh sector began two days back, about nine months after the military faceoff began after China launched an aggression in a bid to change the status quo of the LAC. Under the terms of the disengagement agreement, India will move back its troops to Finger 3 and China will pullback its troops to east of Finger 8.

“At the outset, Ministry of Defence reiterates that the factual position has already been clearly communicated by the Raksha Mantri in his statements to both Houses of the Parliament (yesterday),” the statement said.

“However, it is necessary to set the record straight and counter certain instances of wrongly understood information being amplified in media and social media,” it added.

“The assertion that Indian territory is upto Finger 4 is categorically false. The territory of India is as depicted by the map of India and includes more than 43,000 sq km currently under illegal occupation of China since 1962,” the ministry said.

“Even the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as per the Indian perception, is at Finger 8, not at Finger 4. That is why India has persistently maintained the right to patrol up to Finger 8, including in the current understanding with China,” it said.

“Permanent posts of both sides at the north bank of Pangong Tso are longstanding and well-established. On the Indian side, it is Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3 and on the Chinese side, east of Finger 8. The current agreement provides for cessation of forward deployment by both sides and continued deployment at these permanent posts,” the statement said.

“India has not conceded any territory as a result of this agreement. On the contrary, it has enforced observance and respect for LAC and prevented any unilateral change in the status quo,” the government asserted.

It said the Defence Minister’s statement also made clear that there are outstanding problems to be addressed, including at Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang.

“The outstanding issues are to be taken up within 48 hrs of the completion of the Pangong Tso disengagement,” it said.

The Ministry added that “the effective safeguarding of our national interest and territory in the Eastern Ladakh sector has taken place because the Government has reposed full faith in the capabilities of the armed forces. Those who doubt the achievements made possible by the sacrifices of our military personnel are actually disrespecting them.”