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Disengagement in Galwan Valley, Pangong lake areas is 'surrender' to China: AK Antony

NEW DELHI, Feb 14: Senior Congress leader and former defence minister AK Antony on Sunday alleged that disengagement in both the Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso lakeareas and the creation of a buffer zone was a "surrender" of India's rights.

Addressing a press conference, he also said that at a time when India was facing multiple challenges at the border and was facing a two-front war-like situation, the increase in defence budget this year is meagre and insignificant and was a "betrayal" of the country.

The government had on Friday emphatically stated that India has not "conceded" any territory following the disengagement agreement with China in Pangong lake areas in eastern Ladakh.

Antony said he was sad that the Narendra Modi government was not giving proper priority to national security at a time when China was getting belligerent and Pakistan continued to promote terrorism.

He said disengagement was good as it reduced tension but it should not be done at the cost of national security.

"Both disengagements in Galwan and Pangong Tso are a surrender," he alleged, adding that it amounted to surrendering of areas traditionally controlled by India.

"We are surrendering our rights," he alleged, noting that Galwan Valley as Indian territory was never a disputed land even in 1962.

"Disengagement and buffer zone means surrender of our land at the moment," he alleged, while warning that the government is not understanding the importance of this disengagement and creation of the buffer zone.

He warned that China "can play mischief" anytime by helping Pakistan in Siachen.

"We want to know from this government when there will be status quo ante as on mid-April 2020 in the entire India-China border," he said, asking what was the government's plan in this regard.

He also said that the government must take the country and the people into confidence on restoration of status quo ante at the borders.

He said the government always consulted leaders of all political parties before taking such a decision and must keep national security in mind.

Antony alleged that the government sought to "appease" China by not increasing the defence budget, and to give a message that it did not want to confront them.

"To appease China, the government sent a message by not increasing this defence budget that we do not want to confront you. To appease China, we have agreed to disengagement on China's terms," he alleged.

When the whole country is facing serious challenges from both China and Pakistan, the senior Congress leader said the armed forces are demanding support and substantial increase in the defence budget.

"But compared to last year's revised defence budget, this budget has made a meagre and insufficient increase of only 1.48 percent. It is a betrayal of the country. The government has let down our armed forces. The government is not paying proper attention of national security," he further charged.

India has not conceded any territory to China in disengagement process in Pangong Tso: MoD

NEW DELHI, Feb 12: India has not 'conceded' any territory to China by firming up an agreement on the disengagement process in Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh, and other outstanding 'problems' including in Depsang, Hot Springs ad Gogra will be taken up at the upcoming talks between military commanders of the two countries, the defence ministry said on Friday.

The statement by the ministry came hours after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that the government has 'ceded' Indian territory to China and raised questions over the agreement on the disengagement process.

The ministry also dubbed as 'categorically false' the assertion that Indian territory is up to Finger 4 in the Pangong Tso area, adding the permanent posts of both sides in the area are 'longstanding and well-established'.

'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 ministry said in the strongly-worded statement.

In a statement in Parliament on Thursday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said China will pull back its troops to east of Finger 8 areas in the northern bank of Pangong lake while the Indian personnel will be based at their permanent base at Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3 in the region.

'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.

At a press conference, Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of 'ceding' Indian territory to China, saying why Indian troops are moving back from Indian territory of Finger 4 to Finger 3.

The mountain spurs in the region are referred to as Fingers.

'The assertion that Indian territory is up to 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 defence ministry said.

'Even the Line of Actual Control, 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 added.

The ministry said the current agreement provides for cessation of forward deployment by both sides and continued deployment at the permanent posts.

Noting that permanent posts of both sides at the north bank of Pangong Tso are longstanding and well-established, the ministry said,'on the Indian side, it is Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3 and on the Chinese side, east of Finger 8.' The ministry said effective safeguarding of the country's national interest and territory in the Eastern Ladakh sector has taken place as 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,' it said.

Besides Gandhi, people on social media had also raised questions over India deciding to keep its troops in Finger 3.

In the statement, the ministry 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.

It reiterated that the factual position has already been clearly communicated by the defence minister in his statements in both Houses of Parliament.

'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 said.

Last year, the Chinese military built several bunkers and other structures in the areas between Finger 4 and 8 and had blocked all Indian patrols beyond Finger 4, triggering strong reaction from the Indian Army.

In the nine rounds of military talks, India was specifically insisted on withdrawal of Chinese troops from Finger 4 to Finger 8 on the North bank of Pangong Lake.

Meanwhile, when asked about India's decision to keep its troops at Finger 3 and other related issues, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava referred to Singh's statement in Parliament as well as that of the defence ministry.

'This agreement was reached after several rounds of sustained negotiations at the military and diplomatic level,' Srivastava said.

The MEA also said the two countries have agreed to convene the 10th round of senior commanders meeting within 48 hours after complete disengagement in the Pangong Lake area to address the remaining issues, and added that no date has been set for Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs.

The agreement on disengagement in the north and south banks of Pangong lake mandates both Chinese and Indian sides to 'cease' forward deployment of troops in a 'phased, coordinated and verifiable' manner.

Agreement reached with China on disengagement along Pangong Lake: Rajnath Singh

NEW DELHI, Feb 11: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed Parliament on February 11 that India and China have agreed to disengagement on the northern and southern banks of the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh.

The two sides have been locked in a stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the region since May 2020.

“Our sustained talks with China have led to agreement on disengagement on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake. After this agreement, India-China will remove forward deployments in a phased, coordinated manner,” Singh said.

China will keep its troops to the east of Finger 8 at the north bank of Pangong Lake and India will keep its troops at its permanent base near Finger 3, Singh said.

"These are mutual and reciprocal steps and any structures that had been built by both sides since April 2020 in both north and south bank area will be removed and the landforms will be restored," Singh added.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Singh said that some issues regarding deployment at the LAC are yet to be resolved. He added that bilateral relations between the two nations can only develop, and the border dispute can only be resolved, through dialogue.

“China has positioned heavy artillery and large number of soldiers along the LAC. Our forces have also adequately and effectively done counter deployments,” Singh reiterated, adding that Indian forces continue to be positioned along the border despite harsh weather conditions.

The defence minister informed the Upper House that India has asked China to accept and respect the LAC, not take any steps to unilaterally change the status quo at the border and follow the rules of engagement, and stated that all compromises should be completely agreed upon by both sides.

This came a day after the Chinese defence ministry announced that frontline soldiers from India and China at the southern and northern banks of the Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh had started synchronised and organised disengagement from February 10.

“This move is in accordance with the consensus reached by both sides at the 9th round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting,” Chinese Ministry of National Defence’s Spokesperson Senior Colonel Wu Qian had said in the statement. India had not immediately comment on the matter.

Both sides have deployed thousands of troops along the LAC since May 2020 when border tensions started simmering between the two neighbours – especially along three friction points in the eastern Ladakh region.

The LAC is the de-facto border between the two countries in the region. In June 2020, Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley as the stand-off escalated into a violent face-off. While there were fatalities on the Chinese side too, the number was not revealed by Beijing.

Both sides are known to have stationed heavy artillery and deployed fighter aircraft in close proximity to the LAC as a precautionary measure even as they work towards disengagement.

MOU between BEL & TEXMACO at Aero India 2021

BENGALURU, Feb 6: An MOU between Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) and Texmaco Rail & Engineering Ltd. (TREL) at Aero India 2021 is a boost to ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make-in-India’ through this unique initiative of Public-Private Partnership.

This strategic and a unique MoU, signifying Public-Private Sector Partnership, was earlier signed by Mrs Anandi Ramalingam, Director (Marketing) of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and by Tribhuvan Darbari, Managing Director & CEO, Texmaco Defence Systems Private Limited & Chief Executive, Texmaco Rail & Engineering Ltd. (TREL).

The MoU was released and exchanged here at Aero India 2021 on February 3.

The scope of the MoU is to explore the opportunities under GOCO (Government owned Coprporate Operatted) Model implementation, for overhaul of various Land Systems of Indian Army like Tank T-72 and T-90 BMP, especially for tank electronics, components and electronic warfare Systems. It also offers other opportunities in the Civil Aviation and Railways, in the non-Defence and exports sectors, of mutual interest.
Texmaco has an exclusive OEM partnership with Uralvagonzavod Russia, which is the largest wagon and tank factory, and produces T-72, T-90 BMP tanks.

Darbari said “We plan to outsource the business to BEL, a public sector under the Department of Defence Production) for the tank electronics and optics portion implementation of the GOCO model, where only the private sector players can bid.”

Tribhuvan Darbari said that the MoU is in line with the clarion call given by the Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi for building an "Atmanirbhar Bharat" and to facilitate the ongoing National programme of “Make-in-India”.

BEL, a Navaratna PSU under Ministry of Defense, is a multi-product, multi-technology PSU with nine manufacturing units across the country and primarily manufactures advanced electronic products for the Indian Armed Forces.

BEL’s major business segments are Radars and Weapon Systems, Communication Systems, Electronic Warfare Systems, C4I Systems, Anti-submarine Warfare Systems, Electro-Optic Systems, Gun Upgrades, Tank Electronics, Components, HLS, and non-defence products like EVM, Solar and Weather Radars.

Texmaco Rail and Engineering Ltd. (TREL) is a flagship company of USD 3 billion Adventz group and a major national player in the manufacturing and Heavy Engineering Sector in the Indian Industry.

TREL is also focusing on forthcoming 'Make-in-India’ Projects to assist in augmenting India's indigenous Defence Production capabilities, with a focus on technology transfer from the globally renowned OEM’s for various envisaged projects, as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Defence, with the assistance of their marketing arm Texmaco Defence Systems Pvt. Ltd. (TDSPL).

TREL has signed significant MoUs/Working Protocols for Cooperation with the leading global OEMs from the Russian Federation like Almaz-Antey; RAC MIG Corporation; Uralvagonzavod; Rubin Aviation Corp., Moscow (OEM’s for MI-17 & Transport Aircrafts in use by the Indian Air Force (IAF). It may be mentioned that 70 per cent of the hardware owned by the Indian Armed Forces, belong to Russian/ Soviet Origin.

This is an addition to other strategic MoU’s with other major Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) like BEML, for manufacture, maintenance, upgrade and modernization of various equipment’s for Indian Armed Forces.


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