External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar claimed on Friday that China has not occupied any of India’s land, but said that the situation along the Line of Actual Control remains “competitive, sensitive and challenging”, The Indian Express reported.

The Line of Actual Control is the de facto demarcation between Indian and Chinese-held territory.

Jaishankar, during a press meet in Pune, said that India and China earlier never had troops on the Line of Actual Control, and both armies deployed forces away from it on their respective sides.

The minister said that China had brought its troops forward in some locations along the Line of Actual Control in 2020. “In response, we also advanced our units and a standoff ensued,” he said. “After that, the two armies continue to battle for supremacy… But there is no encroachment.”

The minister added: “China has tried to bring its troops to the upper part of the mountainous areas along the LAC [Line of Actual Control] but the Indian Army also responded to it in the same manner.”

However, in January last year, a senior police officer posted in Leh said in a research paper that India has lost access to 26 out of 65 patrolling points in the eastern Ladakh region.

Leh Senior Superintendent of Police PD Nitya had said that Indian security forces were no longer able to patrol 26 patrolling points located between the Karakoram Pass and the Chumur region in eastern Ladakh – a major flashpoint of border conflicts between India and China.

A report by the United States Department of Defense on October 19 said that China continued to develop large-scale military infrastructure, including an airport, along the Line of Actual control in 2022 despite holding talks with India on resolving border disagreements.

Border tensions between India and China have increased since June 2020 when a major face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers took place in Galwan Valley of Ladakh. The clashes, which took place at multiple locations along the Line of Actual Control, had led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers. Beijing had said that the clash left four of its soldiers dead.

Tensions had flared at multiple friction points, with both countries stationing tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets. Since the Galwan clashes, China and India have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks to resolve the border standoff.