India on Friday said it rejected comments made by China’s Foreign Ministry blaming it for “trespassing” across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and causing last year’s clash in the Galwan Valley . It was China’s “provocative behaviour” that led to the worst violence on the border in decades, it stated.
On Friday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, in response to a question on whether there was a need for new border management protocols in the wake of last year’s LAC crisis, blamed India for sparking the tensions.
“Over the years, a series of treaties and agreements signed by China and India on maintaining peace and tranquility along the LAC have played an important role in upholding stability along the China-India border. The Galwan Valley incident last year was caused by the Indian side’s illegal trespass of the LAC to encroach on Chinese territory, in violation of previously-signed treaties and agreements. We hope that the Indian side will strictly abide by relevant treaties and agreements signed by the two countries and take concrete actions to safeguard peace and stability in the China-India border areas,” spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.
Twenty Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops died in the Galwan Valley clash, which marked the worst violence since 1967.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) dismissed the comment, saying it “reject[s] such statements.” “Our position with regard to developments last year along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh has been clear and consistent,” an MEA spokesperson said. “It was the provocative behaviour and unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter status quo in contravention of all our bilateral agreements that resulted in serious disturbance of peace and tranquility. This has also impacted the bilateral relations.”
Chinese envoy’s remarks
While India has made it clear that relations cannot continue as normal in trade and other areas amid the disturbed situation on the border, China’s envoy to India, Sun Weidong, in remarks delivered to a virtual Track II dialogue on Thursday and published by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on its website on Friday, offered a different view, saying that both sides “should place the border issue in an appropriate position in bilateral relations and seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through dialogue and consultations.”
He said, “We should avoid taking a part for the whole, or losing sight of the forest for the trees. For example, peace and tranquility in the border areas is important, but it is not the whole story of the bilateral relations.”
Indian officials have rejected the view, pointing out that China, too, for instance, recently told the United States that it could not cooperate on issues such as climate change while other areas of relations remained on confrontation. On relations with India, the officials said, Beijing was taking a different view.
Referring to moves taken by India, including curbs on Chinese investment, Mr. Sun said “bilateral cooperation has faced some restrictions imposed intentionally by the Indian side since last year.”
“It takes only one party to impair a relationship, but takes two countries to build good relations,” he observed. China-India relations should be a two-way street of mutual respect, accommodating each other's concerns while promoting win-win cooperation, not a one-way street that one side raises requests and set conditions while the other is forced to make responses.”