New Delhi on Thursday dismissed China’s objections to India-United States joint military drills being conducted in Uttarakhand near the Line of Actual Control.
“We don’t give veto to anyone in the relationship we have with the US,” Union Ministry of External Affairs spokespersons Arindam Bagchi told reporters at a media briefing. “So we would like to do exercise with whomsoever we like to or do things like that, I will not comment beyond that.”
India is currently holding its 18th joint military exercise with the US at the hill town of Auli. Earlier, these exercises had taken place in other parts of North India, but this year’s drills are being held only about 100 kilometers from the Line of Actual Control.
On Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry had raised objections against the exercise, saying it violates border management agreements signed between Beijing and New Delhi in 1993 and 1996 in order to maintain peace along the Line of Actual Control, reported the Hindustan Times.
At the media briefing, Bagchi said that the drills have nothing to do with the agreements.
“But since these [objections] were raised and we are talking about them, and they are raised by the Chinese side, let me emphasise that the Chinese side needs to reflect and think about its own breach of these agreements of 1993 and 1996,” he said. “India exercises with whomsoever it chooses to and it does not give a veto to third countries on this issue.”
New Delhi has accused China’s People’s Liberation Army of violating several border management agreements and protocols by massing troops along the Line of Actual Control and building infrastructure in disputed regions.
Meanwhile, Bagchi refused to comment on a Pentagon report that claimed that following the Galwan clash in June 2020, China had warned United States officials to not interfere with its relationship with India.
Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four. Since the clash, India and China have been locked in a border standoff.