China’s Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe told Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Moscow on Friday that India was “entirely” responsible for the border tensions and China would not give up “an inch of its territory”, Chinese media reported on Saturday.
The state-run Xinhua news agency quoted General Wei as saying “recently the relations between the two countries and the two militaries have been seriously affected by the border issue ” and it was “very important for the two defence ministers to have a face-to-face and candid exchange of views on relevant issues.”
At the time of writing (9 am IST on Saturday), India was yet to release a statement on the talks. According to Indian sources, China had first sought Friday’s meeting.
General Wei reiterated China’s stand in the talks, echoing several statements last week in which Beijing blamed India for the latest tensions . China on Wednesday said “the responsibility lies entirely with the Indian side” and had “kept maximum restraint to prevent potential escalation”, calling on India to “immediately withdraw its troops”.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said last week Chinese troops 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 Indian 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. India has said that the latest tensions on the south bank of the Pangong Lake followed China’s similar moves along 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.
General Wei said, “The cause and truth of the current tension on the China-India border are very clear, and the responsibility lies entirely with the Indian side.”
“Not an inch of China’s territory can be lost,” he said. “The Chinese military has the resolve, capability and confidence to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
He said, “The two sides should earnestly implement the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi and stay committed to resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation.”
“It is hoped that the Indian side will strictly abide by the series of agreements reached by the two sides, effectively strengthen control over front-line troops, refrain from provocations across the current Line of Actual Control or take any actions that may cause the situation to heat up, and not deliberately hype up or spread negative information,” he said.
“The two sides should bear in mind the overall interests of China-India relations and regional peace and stability, make joint efforts to meet each other halfway, cool down the current situation as soon as possible and safeguard peace and tranquility in the China-India border areas,” he added.