Ambassador of India to the People’s Republic of China, Vikram Misri, on Friday warned Beijing that trying to alter status quo along the Line of Actual Control by coercion will not just damage the peace that existed along the border areas, but can also have “ripples and repercussions” in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
In an interview to PTI, Misri said the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops can be resolved only if Beijing stops building new structures along the LAC. He added that India has been consistent in pointing out that Chinese actions over an extended period of time has led to the current situation. “In fact beginning with the time frame of April and May, I would say there were a number of Chinese actions along the LAC in the Ladakh sector in the western sector that interfered with and hindered with the normal patrolling activities of our troops in that sector,” he said. “This led obviously to a few face-off situations.”
His comments came after the purported agreement for limited de-escalation reached at the first Corps Commander-level talks was violated with the June 15 clashes, resulting in the death of 20 Indian soldiers including a commanding officer. The modalities for disengagement from “all friction areas” in eastern Ladakh said to have been reached at the second Corps Commander talks on June 22 is yet to begin. Satellite images showed that the structures that led to the violent face-off in the Galwan Valley are also back.
The Centre on Thursday said that China had been “amassing” troops and armaments along the LAC for nearly two months. This was the first time the government formally acknowledged the build-up and is a departure from previous statements that attributed the tensions to a “difference in perception” of the border areas.
The Indian ambassador said that the actions taken by the Chinese forces on the ground have damaged “considerable trust” in the bilateral relationship, adding that it is now their responsibility to take a careful view of the situation and chart the future course. “The resolution of this issue is quite straight forward from our perspective,” Misra told the news agency. “The Chinese side needs to stop creating obstruction and hindrances in the normal patrolling patterns of the Indian troops. The bilateral relationship is of great value to the two countries. It is important not just for us but also regionally important.”
Misra dismissed China’s claim of sovereignty over the entire Galwan Valley, saying it is “completely untenable”, while warning that the kind of language used by Beijing is not helpful in resolving the situation. “Whatever activities we may be carrying on have always been on our side of the LAC, so the Chinese need to stop activities to alter the status quo,” he added. “It is very surprising that they should have chosen to, in the context of these recent developments, to do this kind of thing in a sector which has never before been a sector of concern.”
The Galwan Valley has always been under India’s control. It has not figured in China’s map since 1962. Misra said Indian soldiers have been patrolling up to these areas without any difficulty for a “very very long period of time”.
During an interview with PTI on Thursday, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong did not answer why People’s Liberation Army has not been allowing Indian patrols from Finger 4 to Finger 8 areas in Pangong Tso, even though the areas belonged in the Indian side of the LAC.
“So I think there should be a realisation on the Chinese side that there is no gain in trying to alter the status quo on the ground especially by resorting to force...that will not just damage the peace and tranquillity that existed on the border but it can have ripples and repercussions in the broader bilateral relationship,” the Indian envoy told PTI.
Misra hoped that China will realise its responsibility in de-escalation and disengagement during the ongoing military talks. “That would be a true resolution of this issue,” he added.