China defends bridge construction, says it is within its sovereignty

According to officials, the bridge under construction across Pangong Lake would bolster Chinese capabilities.

A day after New Delhi said a bridge being constructed by China across Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh was in an area under “illegal” occupation for six decades, Beijing said its infrastructure “falls within its sovereignty”.

The bridge under construction connects the north and south banks of Pangong Lake, and officials said it would bolster Chinese capabilities to move troops and equipment between its garrisons on the two sides. The construction, officials said, was around 25 km on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“This bridge is being constructed in areas that have been under the illegal occupation by China for around 60 years now,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday, adding that New Delhi was “monitoring this activity closely”. India sees China as occupying at least 38,000 sq km in Aksai Chin.

“India has never accepted such illegal occupation,” he said. “Separately, Government has been taking all necessary steps to ensure that our security interests are fully protected. As part of these efforts, Government has also, during the last seven years, increased significantly the budget for development of border infrastructure and completed more roads and bridges than ever before.”

Asked about India’s comment on China’s “illegal occupation” at a daily press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said he was “not aware of the situation”, but defended the construction. “I want to stress that China’s infrastructure construction on its territory entirely falls within its sovereignty,” he said, “and is aimed at safeguarding China’s territorial sovereignty and security as well as peace and stability in the China-India border area.”

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Printable version | May 6, 2022 1:16:39 pm |