Phrases of disengagement, creation of buffer zone at LAC is ‘give up’: AK Antony

Ajay Banerjee

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, February 14

Former defence minister AK Antony on Sunday said the terms of disengagment of India-China troops and creation of a buffer zone at Pangong Tso and Galwan as ‘surrender’ of Indian interests.

He accused the Narendra Modi government of appeasing China, of “agreeing to disengagment at China’s terms”.

Antony, who is a former defence minister, addressed a press conference in New Delhi and said: “Please understand the gravity of the situation. Disengagement is good but it cannot be at cost of national security.”

He asked the government to tell its plan to restore status-quo ante as April 2020 along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Former defence minister AK Antony addressing the media on the India-China border row at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Sunday. Tribune Photo: Manas Ranjan

“The government is not realising the danger of creating such buffer zones,” said Antony, whose words were later translated in Hindi by Randeep Surjewala.

The Army had occupied Kailash range in south of Pangong Tso but during the negotiations, we agreed to withdraw from there, said Antony, adding: “It could have been a bargaining chip.”

Speaking on the situtation at the north bank of the Pangong Tso, Antony said: “The area between Finger 4 and Finger 8 (fingers are numbers of given to mountain spurs that descend onto the north bank of the Pangong Tso) was a disputed area where both armies used to patrol. Sometimes, there was pushing and jostling by troops of either side but India always maintained that claimed the LAC upto Finger 8.”

Antony, quoting Defence Minister Rajnath Singh words in Parliament, said: “We have agreed that we will come back to Finger 3.”

“Finger 3 is a permanent base named Dhan Singh Thapa. The Indian Army has a post at Finger 4 then why has that been vacated and why has the right to patrol till Finger 8 been surrendered”, he questioned.

“Areas which have been traditionally under our control, we are surrendering that right as well,” he said and went on to cite the example of Galwan.

“It was never a point of dispute in the list of disputes. There are some two dozen hotspots. Galwan was not a dispute even in 1962. It was always a part of India but for the first time, a buffer zone has been created there,” Antony said.

If our Army controls the Galwan Valley, we can, at any moment, reach the Karokaram Pass (the northern most tip of Ladakh facing Xinjiang in China).

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