A day after a senior United States Army general called the defence infrastructure being built by China near Ladakh as alarming, Beijing on Thursday said that some American officials are trying to add “fuel to the fire” and termed it a “despicable act”, PTI reported.
General Charles A Flynn, who oversees the Asia Pacific region, told reporters in India on Wednesday that the Chinese activity across the Line of Actual Control is “destabilising and corrosive behaviour”.
India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.
Last month, reports had emerged that China is building a second bridge around the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh and this could potentially help the People’s Liberation Army to quickly mobilise its troops in the region.
Pangong Lake was one of the prominent flashpoints when border tensions between the two countries had flared up in 2020. One-third of the nearly 160 kms-long lake lies in India, the other two-thirds in China.
Flynn said that the China’s infrastructure development is “eye-opening”.
At a daily press conference on Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the country’s military standoff with India is “stabilising on the whole”.
He added, “Both sides have the will and capability of resolving the question through dialogue and consultation. Some US officials are trying to add fuel to the fire and pointing fingers. This is a despicable act. We hope they will do more to contribute to regional peace and stability.”
The spokesperson said that the frontline forces from China and India have “realised disengagement in most areas along the western section”.
Both sides have held 15 rounds of military talks and completed the disengagement process on the north and south banks of the Pangong Lake in February 2021 and the Gogra Hot Springs area in August 2020.
On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs said that India is closely monitoring the Chinese activity in eastern Ladakh, PTI reported.
“The government is committed to and takes all adequate and appropriate measures to safeguard the territorial integrity and sovereignty as the developments in recent years have clearly demonstrated,” foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
He added that India has maintained “continuous communication” with the Chinese side via diplomatic and military channels. Dialogue with Beijing will continue to resolve the border row, Bagchi said.
On May 20, India’s foreign ministry had said that the second bridge is in an area under the illegal occupation of China since the 1960s.