India on Friday once again blamed China for the ongoing border standoff between the two countries, claiming that it tried to effect a “unilateral change” in the eastern Ladakh region.
“Situation that we have seen since last six months has been a result of the actions of Chinese side which has sought to effect a unilateral change in status along Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said during a press briefing.
Srivastava said that China’s actions were in violation of the bilateral agreements and protocol on ensuring peace and tranquillity along the border.
“We have taken note of Chinese side’s statement that it strictly observes agreements between two sides and is committed to resolving border issue through dialogue and safeguarding peace and tranquility in border areas,” Srivastava said. “We expect that Chinese side will match its words with actions.”
He also dismissed China’s claim that an event of joint release of commemorative stamps to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries was cancelled due to lack of feedback from India. “We have seen a tweet by the Chinese Embassy suggesting that this event was cancelled by the Chinese side as there was no feedback given by the Indian side before the launch time agreed by both sides,” the spokesperson said. “This is factually incorrect.”
India has repeatedly held China responsible for the tensions along the border which has now entered its seventh month.
Earlier this week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the ties between the neighbours are passing through their most difficult phase, claiming that Beijing has offered “five differing explanations” for violating agreements on maintaining peace on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. On Thursday, speaking at a meeting of defence ministers of various countries, Union minister Rajnath Singh, in a veiled criticism of China, said that exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities would go a long way in bringing sustained peace. Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe was among those who attended the virtual meeting.
Meanwhile, on December 8, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that the country was working with India for “further de-escalation” in Ladakh.
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.