New Delhi: India on Friday said it has not conceded any territory as a result of the agreement finalised with China for disengagement of troops in Pangong lake areas in eastern Ladakh.
Hours after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that the government has "ceded" Indian territory to the Chinese and raised questions over the agreement, the Ministry of Defence issued a strongly-worded statement, saying the effective safeguarding of country's national interest and territory in the Eastern Ladakh sector has taken place because the government 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", the statement said.
The ministry also made certain clarifications in the statement, and said, "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."
"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 upto Finger 8, including in the current understanding with China," the MoD said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday told Parliament that as per provision of the agreement, 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.
"India has not conceded any territory as a result of the agreement. On the contrary, it has enforced observance and respect for LAC and prevented any unilateral change in the status quo," it said.
The ministry also asserted that 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 MoD said, adding the current agreement provides for cessation of forward deployment by both sides and continued deployment at these permanent posts.
The statement said the ministry 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, asserting that it is necessary to set the record straight and counter certain instances of wrongly understood information.
Addressing a press conference, Gandhi questioned why the Prime Minister did not make a statement on the LAC situation, and claimed that Singh "sheepishly" made a statement on the issue in both Houses of Parliament.
"Why has he asked the Defence Minister to make the statement, the Prime Minister should say - I have given Indian land to China, this is the truth," he alleged.