Government of India has issued a clarification on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement yesterday that no one ‘came inside India’s border’.
While the Indian media took this sentence to mean that the Chinese never crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) into Indian territory, Government of India today clarified that that was not the intended message of that statement.
Instead, it said, the Prime Minister was saying that, when the Prime Minister was making that speech yesterday, there were no Chinese incursions on this side of the LAC, and that all incursions had been cleared. In other words, he was referring to the situation at the border at at point of time, and not about what had transpired earlier.
“The Prime Minister’s observations that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces. The sacrifices of the soldiers of the 16 Bihar Regiment foiled the attempt of the Chinese side to erect structures and also cleared the attempted transgression at this point of the LAC on that day,” the latest statement said.
The confusion arose due to the peculiar wording of Prime Minister Modi’s speech yesterday.
He had said: “Neither has anyone entered our territory, nor is anyone occupying our territory, nor are any of our posts under their territory.”
The government did try to clarify the message further dropping the initial part in the transcript and bullet points attached to the video.
The attached statement said: “Prime Minister clarified that neither is anyone inside our territory nor is any of our post captured.”
However, by then, most of the media had reported that the Prime Minister said that no one had ever crossed into Indian territory, despite there being ample satellite imagery to prove Chinese incursions into areas patrolled by India.
This led to a lot of brouhaha, with the opposition asking why 20 Indian army men lost their lives if there had been no incursion.
If the Chinese had not crossed over into our territory, why did the Bihar regiment get into a bloody scuffle with Chinese troops that resulted in the death of dozens of men on both sides, they asked.
It also gave some on the Chinese side an opportunity to claim the moral high ground by claiming that they had never crossed over to the Indian side and that the scuffle took place on the Chinese side with Indian troops crossing into Chinese territory.
Pointed out journalist Shen Shiwei with Chinese state media: “The statement illustrates that the incidents happened in Chinese territory.”
Today’s clarification has, however, corrected that point and asserted that the PM’s statement was about the situation that remained after the fight between the Indian and Chinese army men.
In other words, before the fight took place, Chinese troops were indeed inside Indian territory.
“Attempts are being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation to remarks by the Prime Minister at the All-Party Meeting (APM) yesterday. Prime Minister was clear that India would respond firmly to any attempts to transgress the Line of Actual Control (LAC),” today’s statement added.
It also said that the Chinese were trying to erect structures “just across the LAC” and refused to desist from such actions, leading to Indian action.
However, from the statement, it was not clear whether the structures were being erected on the Indian side of the LAC or the Chinese side.