China on Thursday held India “totally responsible” for the situation along the Line of Actual Control that had deteriorated following a skirmish between the armies of both sides in June, reported The Hindu. The border impasse between India and China continues as every discussion has hit a stalemate after some initial disengagement.
“China and India are neighbours and the world’s two biggest emerging markets and keeping good relations serves the fundamental interests of both countries and its people but it requires common efforts from both sides,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said. “The merits of the situation at the border area are very clear and the responsibility totally lies with the Indian side.”
The spokesperson said that Beijing was strictly adhering to the agreements signed by both countries and said it was committed to resolving the border matter with dialogue. “But like all sovereign states we are determined in safeguarding our territorial integrity,” she said. “So on the Indian side, I think this is a serious question on what it should reflect upon.”
Hua also asked India to work with Beijing and contribute to solidarity and common development. “There are challenges in bilateral relations but China’s position and policy on India hasn’t changed,” she said. “As two major countries and emerging markets, keeping good relations serves the fundamental interests of both and we will stay committed to safeguarding the peace and tranquility in the border area.”
The spokesperson said China believes in “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solutions” that should be put in a proper position in their bilateral relations. “We hope we can reach consensus, properly manage differences, enhance practical cooperation and bring our bilateral relations back on the right track,” Hua said.
China’s comment came after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar blamed the neighbouring country for the strained relations, saying that that Beijing has offered “five differing explanations” for violating agreements on maintaining peace on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.
“The Chinese have literally brought tens of thousands of soldiers in full military preparation mode right up to the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh,” Jaishankar said. “Naturally, the relationship would be profoundly disturbed by this.”
He further said that the relationship has been “very significantly damaged”, because all the positive developments in bilateral ties, including China becoming India’s second largest trade partner, were based on the fact that the two countries agreed to maintain peace and tranquility at the border.
Since the border standoff began, India and China have had eight rounds of Corps Commander-level talks. The discussions, however, have hit a stalemate after some initial disengagement. Both sides have made preparations to maintain thousands of troops and equipment in sub-zero conditions.
The tensions along the Line of Actual Control started with initial scuffles that led to a pitched battle – without firearms – in June that saw 20 Indian soldiers killed. Beijing, however, refused to release casualty numbers on its side. Both India and China have accused each other of crossing into rival territory and of firing shots for the first time in 45 years.