The Chinese Foreign Ministry and the defence ministry on Wednesday accused India of deliberately provoking the June 15 clashes at Galwan Valley, saying New Delhi had openly violated the consensus reached between the two countries on June 6, The Hindu reported.
This came a day after the two sides held the second round of Corps Commander level talks to discuss border tensions. The first round of Corps Commander talks was held on June 6, but the agreement was violated on June 15 during the “de-escalation” process, resulting in the death of at least 20 Indian soldiers in the worst violence on the border since 1975.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, at a ministry briefing on Wednesday, claimed that during the first Commander meeting of June 6, India had agreed to “no trespassing” of the Galwan Valley for patrolling and for building facilities. “The two sides agreed to set up observatory posts at the two sides of the Galwan river estuary, but the Indian side went against this agreement and asked China to dismantle their posts, and also it crossed the Line of Actual Control,” he said, adding that this led to the violent clash between them.
There was no immediate reaction from the Indian side to the claims made by Zhao.
Meanwhile, People’s Liberation Army Senior Colonel and China’s Defence Spokesperson Wu Qian claimed that China has sovereignty over the Galwan Valley and that Chinese border guards have been patrolling and performing their duties there “for many years”.
“Since April this year, the Indian border defence forces have unilaterally built facilities in the region, and China has repeatedly made representations and protests on this,” Qian said. “In the early hours of May 6, the Indian border guards crossed the line [LAC] and entered the Chinese territory to construct barriers, blocking the normal patrol of the Chinese border guards, and attempted to unilaterally change the status of border control.”
As a result of this, the Chinese border defence force had to take necessary measures to strengthen their on-site response and control the border area, the defence spokesperson added.
Wu too claimed that at the Corps Commander level talks on June 6, India and China had agreed “to take practical measures to ease the situation in the border areas”. This included India “promising not to patrol and build facilities at the mouth of the Galwan river,” and both sides withdrawing the troops in batches through a meeting of local commanders, he said.
“[But] What is shocking is that on the evening of June 15, the Indian front line frontier troops openly violated the consensus reached by the two parties [on June 6], went back and forth across the line, crossed the LAC again and deliberately provoked China,” Wu added. “While negotiating on the spot, Chinese officers and soldiers were suddenly violently attacked by the Indian side. This triggered intense physical clashes between officers and soldiers on both sides, resulting in casualties.”
On Tuesday, China had also rebutted reports that suggested it had lost over 40 soldiers in the clash on June 15, calling it “fake news”. While India has confirmed that 20 of its soldiers were killed in the violence and 76 injured, China has not published its official number of casualties.