Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made a significant admission on Friday while addressing the troops in Ladakh that there is no guarantee that the ongoing talks between India and China would help resolve the border dispute. This is the first time a senior Indian leader, that too the country’s Defence Minister, has revealed the stark, dangerous reality on the ground. All this while, there was no official confirmation on the direction and destination of the India-China talks, with attempts being made by some quarters to first obfuscate, hide and dilute the seriousness of the Chinese incursion in Ladakh, and later to claim effective disengagement of troops for the creation of a buffer zone. Now, the Defence Minister’s statement gives credence to apprehensions of a larger Chinese design to prolong the standoff.

Rajnath Singh has indeed assured the troops, and the Indian public at large, that no power in the world can grab even an inch of Indian territory; at the same time, by being realistic about the complete breach in relationship, he has made the government, the troops and the people realise and respond to the continuing Chinese treachery. After the Chinese incursion, the Indian and Chinese corps commanders had first met and agreed on disengagement on June 6, but on the night of June 15, the Chinese bludgeoned and killed 20 Indian soldiers, including the Commanding Officer. Since then, there have been three more meetings of the military leaders, and also that of the special representatives on the boundary question, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on July 5.

Meanwhile, credible strategic thinkers have pointed out that the Line of Actual Control could have got shifted westwards into the Indian territory by about a kilometre. The fear of incursion at Depsang aimed at threatening the Daulat Beg Oldie airstrip is getting more and more real in these circumstances. While the nation reposes its faith in the government, there ought to be greater clarity for the people to be prepared for resolute action.