China has not captured any Indian territory or crossed the borders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday at an all-party meeting called to discuss the clash with Chinese forces in Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives this week.
“Neither is anyone inside our territory nor is any of our post captured,” PM Modi said, adding the entire country is hurt and angry at the steps taken by China at the Line of Actual Control or LAC.
“Twenty of our bravehearts were martyred in Ladakh but not before they taught a lesson to those who raised an eye at Bharat Mata,” he added, speaking in the meeting where most leaders expressed solidarity with the government in its response to Chinese aggression.
“I want to assure you that our forces will spare no effort to protect our nation. Today, we have the capability that no one can look at even an inch of our territory,” PM Modi said.
“While we have given a free hand to our armed forces, diplomatically too we have made our stand clear to China. India wants peace and friendship but protecting its sovereignty is supreme,” he added.
“Because of new infrastructure, especially along the LAC, our patrolling capability has gone up. Because of that alertness has gone up and events happening on the LAC are being reported,” he said.
In the first such violent clash in nearly half a century, Indian soldiers were assaulted with iron rods and clubs wrapped in barbed wire laced with nails in the fight with the Chinese in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on Monday, close to the Line of Actual Control. Many were thrown off a steep ridge and some of the soldiers fell into the river Galwan.
The dramatic escalation in hostilities came after weeks of reports of the Chinese ramping up their military presence in the area and intruding into Indian territory throughout which the government maintained there was no cause for concern.
Speaking out two days after the encounter with Chinese forces, PM Modi had said he wanted to assure the nation that the sacrifice of Indian soldiers would not go in vain and India, while peace-loving, is capable of giving a fitting reply if provoked.