India Downplays Reports of Chinese Incursions

A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement, now Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor has said that there is no increase in the number of such incidents as compared to last year.

“There is no cause for worry or concern”, Gen Kapoor told reporters here, noting that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made a statement on Chinese incursions.

“The Prime Minister has made a statement yesterday that there has not been any more incursions or transgressions as compared to last year. They are almost at the same level,” he said asking the media not to over hype the matter.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also  down played reports of rising Chinese intrusion and said that there is nothing to be concerned about and that the issue is being hyped in the media.

Speaking to media persons at an Iftar party at his residence, Singh had said that there is no intelligence suggesting anything serious happening along the border and that there is nothing to be worried about.

Prime minister’s remarks came following reports in a media of “aggressive incursions” and even firing by Chinese troops along the border that have been denied by the government.

Singh said that National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan had a met and had a “good meeting”. The prime minister also said that he was in contact with the highest levels in China.

Singh said that the failure of the government information system to convey that there was nothing wrong on the Chinese border could be a fault with the system’s efficacy, thus leading to media hype, and said that the lacunae would soon be corrected.

While the PM attempted to cool down temperatures, India remains concerned about the rapid development on the Chinese side of the border and an all-out push is being given to develop infrastructure in the region.

Besides improving connectivity in the Ladakh sector as well as Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, the government has also given the army a go ahead to raise two new mountain divisions – comprising close to 30,000 troops – for deployment along the Chinese border.

At the same time, there are enough confidence-building measures being undertaken as neither side wants to needlessly escalate the situation along the border. Efforts are on from both sides to genuinely build up relations so that each border incident is not blown out of proportion.

As part of the confidence-building measures, Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen V K Singh went on a weeklong “goodwill visit” to China that included a stop in Lhasa and meetings in the Chengdu military area. A hotline between the Indian PM and the Chinese Premier is also in the pipeline.

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