Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured that India is being protected by all three forces- Indian Army, Navy and Airforce. He added tensions have increased because now Indian soldiers have started stopping and interrogating every person in the country's territory during patrolling.
"Nobody has intruded into our border, neither is anybody there now nor have our posts been captured," Modi said, referring to Ladakh's Galwan valley, where hand-to-hand fighting between soldiers from the nuclear-armed neighbours took place earlier this week.
India and China are attempting to cool tensions after the deadliest clash in at least five decades, with military-level talks taking place in an attempt to deescalate the confrontation. But PM Modi's comments, made in a televised statement at the end of an all-party meeting to discuss the incident, contrasted with his government's earlier stance.
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had told a senior Chinese diplomat that the dispute was triggered after "the Chinese side sought to erect a structure in Galwan valley on our side of the LAC," according to a ministry statement. The LAC refers to the Line of Actual Control, the de facto border that has been a constant source of friction in the region where India and China fought a brief war in 1962.
Armed forces given the freedom to take any necessary step: Modi
In a significant announcement in the wake of the tensions with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that his government has given the armed forces full freedom to take any necessary action. Addressing the all-party meeting he called to discuss the border situation, Modi said: "Our forces are fully capable of defending our borders."
He also asserted that whether it is an issue of trade, connectivity or counter-terrorism, India has not submitted to any external pressure. "What is necessary for national security, whatever infrastructure is needed to be built on the borders, it will be done at the same rapid speed," he said.
The Prime Minister also said that one benefit of the improved infrastructure is that is has become easier to reach the necessities to the soldiers living in harsh conditions on the border areas. "India wants peace and friendship, but the issue of its sovereignty is supreme," he said, noting that all participants in the meeting had expressed the same sentiments.
"While on one hand, we have allowed the defence forces to take whatever steps they may deem fit, on the other hand, we have also conveyed our resolve to China through diplomatic means. It is definite that whatever happened on the LAC has shocked and enraged the entire nation," Modi said.
Earlier on Friday, an Indian government source said that China had returned 10 Indian soldiers captured during the battle. In a briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian denied any Indian troops had been in its custody.
"As far as I know China hasn't seized any Indian personnel," Zhao said. The Indian army did not comment on the release, which according to the source took place on Thursday evening, instead referring to a government statement that said all of its soldiers were accounted for.
India has said the Chinese side also suffered casualties in the clash, but China has not disclosed any. Military officials have since held talks, but there is no sign of a breakthrough.
"The situation remains as it was, there is no disengagement, but there is also no further build-up of forces," said a second Indian government source, who is aware of the ground situation. The official said at least 76 Indian troops were wounded during the clash and had been hospitalised. "No one is critical as of now," he said.