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China's recent activity hindering India's normal patrolling: MEA

India on Thursday came out strongly against China over the current standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 05.44 PM IST
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NEW DELHI: India on Thursday came out strongly against China over the current standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), asserting that normal patrolling has been hindered by the recent Chinese activity and that no Indian troops have crossed over to the other side of the disputed boundary.

In the first reaction to the build up of troops in the Galwan and Pangong Tso area in Ladakh and the scuffle in North Sikkim, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said that India remains firmly committed to ensuring its sovereignty and security.

“Any suggestion that Indian troops had undertaken activity across the LAC in the Western Sector or the Sikkim sector is not accurate. Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas and abide by it scrupulously,” the official spokesperson said.

Adding that all activities have remined on the Indian side of the border, the MEA statement suggests that Chinese troops have altered the ground situation. “In fact, it is Chinese side that has recently undertaken activity hindering India’s normal patrolling patterns. Indian side has always taken a very responsible approach towards border management. At the same time, we are deeply committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and security,” the statement reads.

Stating that the two sides have established mechanisms to resolve such issues, the MEA has said that peace in the border areas is an “essential prerequisite” for further development of bilateral relations.

Sources familiar with India-China boundary matters told ET that China’s strategy of aggression in parts of Ladakh is an attempt to create leverage in future negotiations with India on LAC clarification and boundary disputes.

The region is part of the disputed territory between India and China and part of dialogue between Special Representatives – National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi.

China has been creating dual-use civil-military infrastructure in parts of Ladakh as part of attempts to take advantage of the penultimate phase of the Special Representative talks with India on the vexed boundary issue, people who track Sino-Indian ties told ET.

China has been building dual civil-military networks in the whole region, including in Gilgit and Baltistan and Ladakh, according to JNU Professor Srikanth Kondapalli, India’s foremost expert on China.

In the last two decades, China’s military logistics build-up in these areas has been unprecedented, Kondapalli, who has studied the region minutely, said. After India reacted to Chinese plans and started constructing strategic roads over the last decade, the area has become a flashpoint, one of the people who track the India-China relationship said.
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