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Ladakh standoff | China says responsibility for border tensions ‘lies entirely with India’

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying speaks during a daily briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing on September 1, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

China on Wednesday said “the responsibility lies entirely with the Indian side” for the continuing tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and a new stand-off in the Chushul sector.

Also read: China questions India's account of LAC tensions

Beijing also said it had “kept maximum restraint to prevent potential escalation” and called on India “to immediately withdraw all personnel who illegally trespassed across the LAC, and stop taking any actions that may escalate tensions or complicate matters”.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Tuesday the Chinese troops had engaged in “provocative action” on August 31, while discussions between ground commanders were on-going. This followed earlier moves on the night of August 29 which, the Army said, were “provocative” military movements to change the status quo. To pre-empt these moves, the Army said, India undertook measures “to strengthen our positions” near the south bank of Pangong Lake in Ladakh.

On Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on the situation there, “The Indian side claims it ‘pre-empted’ some activities. Like the Chinese saying ‘There are no 300 taels of silver buried here’, which means one accidentally gives away the hidden truth in an explanation, India’s statements reveal the fact that the Indian troops were the first to have illegally crossed the LAC, made provocations, changed the status quo in the border areas and violated bilateral agreements and important consensus.”

Also read: Status quo at Pangong Tso has been changed, says Colonel Dinny (retd.)

Choppy waters: An Indian army convoy moving towards Leh in Gagangeer on Wednesday.

Choppy waters: An Indian army convoy moving towards Leh in Gagangeer on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

 

Ms. Hua said, “Since the beginning of year, India has breached bilateral agreements and important consensus many times in the western sector of the China-India boundary, attempted to unilaterally change the status quo by force, undermined peace and stability in the border region and caused tensions. The responsibility lies entirely with the Indian side. China has kept maximum restraint to prevent potential escalation.”

“We urge India to strictly discipline its border troops, stop all provocations at once, immediately withdraw all personnel who illegally trespassed across the LAC, and stop taking any actions that may escalate tensions or complicate matters. We hope India will work with China to implement bilateral agreements and important consensus reached by leaders of the two sides, and make concrete efforts to uphold peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”

India has said the latest tensions on the south bank of the Pangong Lake followed China’s similar moves along the the border since early May, where it has sought to redraw the LAC in the Galwan Valley, Depsang Plains, north bank of Pangong Lake and in the Gogra-Hot Springs area, in addition to mobilising large number of troops.

Also read | China controls 1,000 sq. km of area in Ladakh

A clash in Galwan Valley on June 15 claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers.

Asked on Wednesday by Reuters to comment about reports that a Tibetan officer part of India’s Special Frontier Force had died in a landmine blast near the site of recent border tensions and on the presence of Tibetan officers in India’s Special Frontier Force, and the role of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in setting up the force going back to the 1960s, Ms. Hua said: “I’m not aware of what you said about these ‘Tibetans in exile’ in the Indian armed forces. You may ask the Indian side for this. But I noted some words you mentioned, including ‘the 1960s’, ‘CIA’, and ‘Tibetans in exile’. These words prompt us to ponder over the ins and outs of the Tibet-related issues and the role the U.S. has played in this process. China’s position is very clear. We firmly oppose any country providing convenience in any form for the ‘Tibet independence’ forces’ separatist activities. I am also wondering what is the connection between so-called ‘Tibetans in exile’ and the Indian border troops. I hope you can do some in-depth investigation. It will be great if you can share with us any further information and progress in this regard.”

On Wednesday, the Communist Party-run Global Times, in an editorial published in its English and Chinese editions, said “the system that has managed the border situation for decades is now crumbling” and “regular border frictions will exhaust both countries.”

Also read: LAC standoff | Completing disengagement will require reciprocal actions, says India

“India’s actions have seriously increased the strategic mistrust between China and India, and heightened the damage border frictions are creating on relations between the two countries. India has cancelled much cooperation with China since Galwan Valley clash. Its nationalism is inflicting damage to itself,” the editorial said.

“Neither China nor India is willing to keep their relations at the cost of losing territory. But the same disputes have been there for decades, and they shouldn’t have been allowed to resurface. Chinese public opinion hasn’t focused on the China-India border issues, but India has always been fanatical. “One will suspect that India is misguided,” the newspaper said. “China is an immovable neighbour and much stronger than India. The two countries are suitable to be partners in seeking common development. But if New Delhi wants to label Beijing its long-term strategic rival, it needs to be prepared to pay a huge cost. In the meantime, it will never manage to get one more inch of land at China-India border areas.”

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 7:15:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/responsibility-for-border-tensions-lies-entirely-with-india-beijing/article32505280.ece

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