“Lost 5000 sq km?,” B.V Srinivas, Congress’s youth wing Indian Youth Congress national chief, raised the question on Twitter on Saturday, a day after PM Modi’s all-party meeting in the wake of India-China faceoff.
Amid China’s claim over the land in Galwan Valley, the Central Government’s two different figures of Chinese occupied Indian territory across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh create a fresh controversy.
There is a difference of thousands of square kilometers between the two figures revealed by the Government with regard to China occupied Indian regions in Ladakh.
The government had earlier claimed China occupied 38,000 square kilometers of Indian land in Ladakh union territory. The government had revealed this figure when former civil Servant and Congress MP from Fatehgarh Sahib Dr. Amar Singh asked details of the border dispute with China including the present status of the areas under question and list of areas India is not holding on 11 March this year. It was raised as an unstarred question in Lok Sabha.
To this, V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs replied: “China disputes the international boundary between India and China. In the Eastern sector, China claims approximately 90,000 square kilometers of Indian Territory in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Indian Territory under the occupation of China in the Union Territory of Ladakh is approximately 38,000 square kilometers. In addition, under the so-called China-Pakistan ‘Boundary Agreement’ signed between China and Pakistan on 2 March 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 square kilometers of Indian territory in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to China.”
However, on Friday when Prime Minister’s Office released press note after the all-party virtual meeting, PMO said that “more than 43000 square kilometers has been yielded under circumstances with which this country is well aware. It was also made clear that this Government will not allow any unilateral change of the LAC” and explained how India engaged in the face-off in Ladakh with China and the current territorial position across LAC.
From these two figures, it seems that there is a difference of at least 5000 square kilometers of land, China occupied from India when it comes from March to June.
“In an on-record statement in Parliament on 11 March 2020, junior foreign minister V Muraleedharan said that 38,000 sq km of Ladakh is under Chinese control. Today PMO issued a clarification of PM’s statement & said 43,000 sq Km of Ladakh is under Chinese Control,” Srinivas’s tweet reads.
Significance of the latest Government figure is high as China claims that Galwan Valley is within its LAC, Despite the denial of Chinese intrusion into the Indian territory by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It is yet to be clarified why there is a difference in the figure published by two different offices of the Government of India.