India has right to build infrastructure along border: AK Antony
Panaji: Days after the standoff with China over intrusion in Ladakh, India on Saturday defended its right to build border infrastructure and said Army and Air Force will continue to shore up their capabilities "on our own land".
"Each country has a right to build border infrastructure in their own land. If China has a right to develop infrastructure, India also has a right. Over the years, the building of infrastructure has been going on," Defence Minister AK Antony told reporters.
The 21-day stand-off in Daulat Beg Oldi sector had ended on May 5 after the two sides agreed to pull back their troops to their earlier positions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Reports have suggested that it was only after India agreed to dismantle its positions in Chumar area in Ladakh that the Chinese side agreed to withdraw its troops from Depsang valley in Daulat Beg Oldi sector there. But External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had said that "no deal" was struck for ending the stand-off in Ladakh.
The Chinese side had contended that infrastructure activities being carried out by them on their side were developmental in nature.
"The Army and Air Force have been increasing their capabilities (along the border) and they will continue doing that on our own land," Antony said.
Asked whether India has begun dismantling its bunkers in Chumar sector, he said, "The general discussions on the topic are over. The implementation part has to be done by commanders of both the armies on ground."
The Defence Minister insisted that India firmly believed in finding solution to disputes through diplomatic channels.
"India believes in finding solution to disputes through negotiations and discussions. We have well established procedure to settle these disputes.
"The stand off is over and both sides have agreed to maintain status quo ante," said Antony, who was here to commission fighter aircraft MiG 29Ks Black Panther squadron at INS Hansa.
He evaded a direct reply when asked if it was India's failure to prevent the Chinese army from intruding into its territory, saying, "after whatever happened between both the countries, both have decided to maintain status quo ante."
Antony said negotiations were on with China on border cooperation and an officer from the Indian army had also accompanied Khurshid on his China visit.