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India denies China occupying territory in Ladakh

(TibetanReview.net, Sep08, 2013) India’s Defence Minister Mr AK Antony has denied media reports that China had occupied a chunk of Indian territory in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir state and that it was preventing Indian troops from patrolling there. Addressing the Lower House of the country’s parliament (Lok Sabha) on Sep 6, Mr Antony categorically denied that Shyam Saran, Chairman of the high-level National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), had stated in a report that China had occupied or had denied access to India to any part of Indian territory, reported thehindu.com Sep 6.

“Government keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India’s security and takes all necessary measures to safeguard it,” Mr Antony was quoted as saying.

The news report said that in the Lok Sabha, angry members of the opposition BJP and the governing UPA ally Samajwadi Party referred to the report of the government committee, claiming that China had occupied 640 sq km of Indian territory in Ladakh sector. Speaker Meira Kumar had to adjourn the House for an hour.

But Mr Antony has said the NSAB head’s report “is primarily focused on the border infrastructure” although it “also deals with several aspects relating to the region covering a broad spectrum of activities and requirements.” He has added that Mr Saran had visited Ladakh from Aug 2 to 9 and submitted a report on infrastructure in Ladakh, with a copy of it having been sent by the Prime Minister’s Office to the Defence Ministry on Sep 2.

According to indianexpress.com Sep 6, Mr Antony said India had strengthened infrastructure on its side of the border in recent years and this was leading to confrontations between the two sides. However, all issues are being sorted out peacefully, he was reported to have added. The report cited him as having told the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) that while China had been upgrading border infrastructure and was ahead of India on this count, New Delhi had built roads and advanced landing grounds and increased troop levels in the last decade.

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