A Chinese official on Tuesday evaded questions on reports that China had asked authorities in Jammu and Kashmir to stop construction work on a road near the disputed border between the two countries.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang neither confirmed nor denied reports that China had raised objections with the State authorities over the construction of an 8-km road in Ladakh near the Line of Actual Control, the effective demarcation between the two countries.
Asked if China had made formal protests to Indian authorities, Mr. Qin said: “China has a dispute with India on the border issue. The two sides should work together to ensure peace and stability in the border area until the pending dispute is resolved.” He did not say if China had raised specific objections on the issue.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Jammu and Kashmir said this week he had conveyed to New Delhi that China had raised objections over a road being built in southeastern Ladakh, which had been sanctioned under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Construction work has been stopped since objections were reportedly first raised in October.
Recent tensions between India and China over the long-running border dispute have been largely focussed on the eastern sections of the disputed border. China has, in recent months, reiterated its claims on Arunachal Pradesh, first blocking an Asian Development Bank plan to fund projects in the area. China also voiced strong opposition to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the State before Assembly elections were due to take place.
More recently, western sections of the disputed border have also come into renewed focus. India recently voiced its opposition to Beijing’s involvement in infrastructure projects in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
Beijing, for its part, irked New Delhi by beginning to issue stapled visas to Indian passport holders from Jammu and Kashmir, instead of stamping them in their passports as is normal procedure, a development which The Hindu first reported in October.
Thirteen rounds of talks to resolve the long-running border dispute have made little progress, although the two countries have agreed to maintain peace in border areas, pending a final settlement.