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Talks on with China to resolve border issues in peaceful manner: Defence Minister

JAMMU (PTI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the government will never let the sanctity of India's borders be violated and talks are going on at military and diplomatic levels with China to resolve issues in a peaceful manner.

Addressing a national security conclave in Jammu, Singh said there have been perceptional differences between India and China on the boundary issue for a long time.

"I want to repeat that there have been some activities on the LAC since 2013, but I outrightly reject (claims) that there has been any significant change or encroachment on the LAC after our government was formed,” Singh said.

Paying glowing tributes to soldiers martyred in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in 2020, the Minister said the Chinese Army ignored the agreed protocols and unilaterally tried to make some changes on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

He lauded the valour and dedication of the Indian Army which foiled attempts by the Chinese PLA to change status quo and said the country will remain indebted to the brave soldiers for their sacrifice and their courageous feat in Galwan will be remembered with pride by future generations.

"We are pained when attempts are made to question the bravery of the soldiers to corner the government. The people of the country are proud of their armed forces," he said. He said India wants the resolution of issues with China through peaceful means.

“The talks are going on at military and diplomatic levels. We want to assure you that we will not compromise on India’s border, its honour and self-respect.

"We will never allow violation of the sanctity of our borders," the Defence Minister said, adding that the government has learnt from the 1962 war with China and has focused on building border infrastructure.

He said the border residents are the “strategic assets” for the country and the government wants people to settle in the forward villages and is undertaking massive infrastructure development works for their benefit from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.

“Rohtang tunnel (on Leh-Manali Highway in Himachal Pradesh) was constructed by our government which completed the project pending for 26 years in six years. This Atal tunnel is very strategic in nature as it will facilitate movement of our troops (round-the-year),” he said.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is constructing roads in Ladakh, which will also benefit the border residents, he said, adding massive border infrastructure development projects have also been undertaken in other border areas in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal and Arunachal Pradesh.

“The border infrastructure is imperative from a security perspective. The border residents are our strategic assets and their interests are paramount to us. We want people to settle in the border village, construct their homes and live there,” he said.

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