Indian Prime Minister Modi arrived in Leh on Friday in a surprise visit to take stock of the situation in the first high-profile visit by the leadership since the border standoff with China erupted in the last week of April.
In his 26-minute speech to the Indian Armed Forces, Modi said the era of expansionism is over, and history is proof that expansionists have “either lost or were forced to turn back”.
In a veiled message to China amid the border standoff, he said the entire territory of Ladakh including Galwan is India’s crown and it is the mark of respect for 1.3 billion Indians. He added that bravery is a prerequisite for peace and that those who are weak can never initiate peace.
Speaking in Nimu. India is proud of the courage of our armed forces. https://t.co/juUjqkAp6v— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 3, 2020
“India’s enemies have seen your fire and fury. Those who are weak can never initiate peace. Bravery is a prerequisite for peace. Your willpower is as strong and firm as the Himalayas. The whole country is proud of you", said Modi.
In a rousing speech to Indian soldiers, he offered his tribute to the 20 soldiers who were killed on 15 June in a violent clash with the People's Liberation Army.
Ji Rong, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in India, has slammed Modi's remarks, saying that "it's groundless to view China as 'expansionist', exaggerate & fabricate its disputes with neighbours".
#China has demarcated boundary with 12 of its 14 neighboring countries through peaceful negotiations, turning land borders into bonds of friendly cooperation. It's groundless to view China as "expansionist", exaggerate & fabricate its disputes with neighbours.— Ji Rong (@ChinaSpox_India) July 3, 2020
Earlier in the day, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded to Modi's surprise visit, saying that the two countries should act in a way to diffuse the tensions.
"India & China are in communication and negotiations on lowering the temperatures through military and diplomatic channels. No party should engage in any action that may escalate the situation at this point", Lijian said.
The third round of Corps Commander de-escalation talks along the 4,057 km Line of Actual Control took place in Chushul on 30 June.
The month-long simmering border conflict between the two countries escalated into a direct confrontation on 15 June, resulting in the killing of 20 Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh. China has not yet revealed the number of casualties on its side. Both countries have accused each other of violating the loosely demarcated Line of Actual Control.