Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In the wake of China`s conditional refusal to pull back troops from Ladakh, Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday said that the government will take every possible step to protect national integrity.
"Our government will take every step to protect national integrity and security," Antony said, reacting to the Chinese incursion in Ladakh.
He added that "negotiations are on at various levels to resolve the issue peacefully".
Reports claimed on Wednesday that Beijing has asked New Delhi to dismantle several fortified positions in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector in Ladakh.
At the second flag meeting held on Tuesday following the April 15 incident when a platoon of troops from China`s People`s Liberation Army (PLA) intruded 10 kilometres inside the Indian territory in DBO sector and set up a tented post there, no resolution could be reached between the two sides.
As per reports, the Indian side refused to accept the Chinese demand and that led to an impasse.
Following the impasse, the Indian Army is planning to move more troops to the region, in what may further lead to an escalation in tensions. The Army had earlier sent a team of Ladakh Scouts -- an Infantry regiment specialising in mountain warfare -- to the DBO sector, manned by the troops of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), soon after the incursion was detected.
The Chinese side told India that its troops would not move out from Depsang until its demands were met.
Reports have claimed that on April 15, Chinese helicopters had violated Indian airspace as well.
On Tuesday, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin ha described the situation as being "face to face", but was hopeful of a peaceful resolution.
As per officials, at least 30 Chinese soldiers armed with light machine guns are camping 10 kms inside India`s perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Raki Nala. The nearest Indian post – of the ITBP – is at Burste, 20 kms away.