No infiltration has been reported along the India-China border in the last six months, the government said in parliament today in the middle of a stand-off in Ladakh and multiple attempts by the Chinese to "alter the Line of Actual Control (LAC)" or the de-facto border between the nations.
The Union Home Ministry's written response was to a question from BJP Rajya Sabha member Anil Agrawal, who asked whether cases of infiltration from Pakistan and China had increased in the last six months and what steps were being taken by the government.
Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai listed infiltration attempts by Pakistan - the most incidents were reported in April -- but on China, he said: "No infiltration has been reported along Indo-China border during last six months".
The government's response indicates an attempt to downplay Chinese intrusions and stress that India has firmly held on to its positions at the LAC.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in a statement in parliament on Tuesday, had said China continues to be in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 sq km in Ladakh. "In mid-May, the Chinese side made several attempts to transgress the LAC in other parts of the western sector. This included Kongka La, Gogra and north bank of Pangong Lake. While no one should doubt our determination to safeguard our borders, India believes that mutual respect and mutual sensitivity are the basis for peaceful relations with neighbours," Mr Singh said.
The government has so far offered no clear, official picture on Chinese presence near the LAC in Ladakh.
In August, the Defence Ministry put up a document on its website that said Chinese aggression "has been increasing along the LAC and more particularly in Galwan valley since May 5, 2020" and "the Chinese side has transgressed in the areas of Kungrang Nala, Gogra and north bank of Pangong Tso Lake on May 17-18". The document was removed within two days.
Tension at the LAC since May escalated on June 15, when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the line of duty.
At an all-party meeting in June on the China dispute, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said: "Neither has anyone intruded into our territory nor taken over any post. Our forces are doing what they have to do to protect the country, whether it is deployment, action or counter-action. Our patrolling capacity has increased due to newly built infrastructure, especially along LAC."
Later, amid an opposition outcry, PM Modi's office clarified that his observations that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC "pertained to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of our armed forces."