The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday asserted that China has no locus standi to comment on India’s internal matters after Beijing said it does not recognise Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh as parts of India.
The ministry’s spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that India’s position on the matter has always been clear and consistent. “The Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been ours and would remain an integral part of India,” he said. Srivastava added that Arunachal Pradesh was also an integral part of India and it had been conveyed to China several times, including at the highest level.
Srivastava also said that the best way to restore peace on the border areas was “scrupulously observing” all agreements relating to the matter. He was reacting to China’s statement on Tuesday that claimed the root cause of the problem between New Delhi and Beijing was the infrastructural development in Ladakh, a Union Territory that was “illegally set up by India”.
The ministry spokesperson said the government was focused on developing the infrastructure of border areas to facilitate economic development and also to meet India’s strategic requirements.
China’s remarks on Ladakh had come a day after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh opened 44 new bridges, seven of which were in the Union Territory. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian had said that neither India nor China should take actions along the border that might escalate the situation. He had added that India should take concrete measures to safeguard peace and tranquility along the border.
On Tuesday, Singh had said that the situation at India’s borders indicated that Pakistan and China were trying to create tensions “under a mission”. The statements came amid a standoff between India and China after 20 Indian and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed in clashes in June in Galwan Valley.
The border standoff
Military heads of the two countries have engaged in several rounds of talks over the last three months following the June incident. But these talks have failed to break the impasse.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had told the Rajya Sabha that China continues to illegally occupy approximately 38,000 square kilometre of land in Ladakh.
On September 10, India’s Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit. The two ministers agreed on a five-point plan to defuse tensions between the countries and said the current situation in the border areas of Ladakh was “not in the interest of either side”. They agreed, therefore, that the border troops of both sides should “continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions”.
On September 7, China accused India of “outrageously firing warning shots” in a new confrontation on the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake, describing it as as “a serious military provocation”. India denied this and said Chinese troops attempted to close in on Indian forward positions along the Line of Actual Control and “fired a few rounds in the air”. This was the first confirmed use of firearms on the Line of Actual Control by troops in more than four decades.
On September 1, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that Chinese troops engaged in “provocative action” on August 31, while discussions between ground commanders were underway. This was followed by earlier moves on the intervening night of August 29 and 30, which, the Indian Army said, were “provocative” military movements to change the status quo.