A day after the Indian Army said People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops had carried out “provocative military movements to change the status quo” in Eastern Ladakh, the Chinese embassy in India accused Indian troops of “illegally trespassing the Line of Actual Control”.
Chinese embassy spokesperson Ji Rong said, “on 31 August, Indian troops violated the consensus reached in previous multi-level engagements and negotiations between China and India, illegally trespassed the Line of Actual Control again at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake and near the Reqin Pass in the western sector of China-India border, and conducted flagrant provocations, which again stirred tension in the border areas.”
Ji Rong further said that India’s move has “grossly violated China’s territorial sovereignty, seriously violated relevant agreements, protocols and important consensus reached between the two countries, and severely damaged peace and tranquility along the China-India border areas.”
“China has made solemn representations to India, urged India to strictly control and restrain its frontline troops, earnestly honor its commitments, immediately stop all the provocative actions, immediately withdraw its troops illegally trespassing the Line of Actual Control, immediately stop any actions leading to the escalation and complication of the situation,” the statement continued.
This comes just a day after a statement by India’s Ministry of Defence that on the night of 29-30 August, PLA troops violated the previous consensus arrived at by military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo.
“Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground.”
The Hindu pointed out that the standoff in Ladakh has been ongoing since early May On 15 June, Indian and Chinese troops clashed in the Galwan Valley, resulting in the deaths of at least 20 Indian troops. China also suffered casualties but it is yet to make the details public.
China’s reaction to India’s statement
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, in the regular press conference on Monday, said that Chinese border troops have been strictly observing the Line of Actual Control and never crossed the line. “The Chinese and Indian border troops are in contact with each other regarding the issue on the ground.”
Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili, spokesperson of the Western Theatre Command of the PLA, alleged that on 31 August, the Indian army broke the consensus reached at the previous multi-level talks between the two sides and illegally crossed the line again near the south bank of Pangong lake and the Reqin Pass, making a blatant provocation and causing tension along the border, according to PTI.
“The Chinese military is taking necessary countermeasures and will closely follow the developments to resolutely safeguard China’s territorial sovereignty and peace and stability in the border areas,” Zhang said in a statement released by Xinhua, the country’s official news agency.
State-run Global Times in an editorial on Tuesday said that China must “resolutely counterattack India’s opportunist move”. It said that India is now burdened with domestic issues, especially the coronavirus pandemic and the economy has been dragged into a sluggish state. “By provoking tensions at the border, New Delhi also aims to shift domestic attention, which is a hooligan behavior externally, and political flimflam internally,” it alleged.
It warned that India is facing a powerful China. “The PLA has sufficient force to safeguard every inch of the country.”
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the India-China boundary is yet to be demarcated due to which there will always be problems.
During an interaction at the French Institute of International Relations in Paris, he said China is ready to manage all issues through dialogue with India. At the same time, these issues should be placed in their proper place in bilateral relations, he said, according to PTI, adding that President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met many times and reached many important agreements.
(With PTI inputs)