China says the Galwan Valley where Chinese and Indian troops were engaged in a deadly clash falls entirely within its territory, as Beijing blamed New Delhi for the June 15 military clash at the border that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statement on Friday that the Galwan Valley, which is part of the disputed Ladakh region, is located on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) - the de facto border between the two Asian rivals.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there are no foreign incursions into India, China has once again claimed that Galwan valley of Ladakh union territory is located on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
In an official statement on the step-by-step account of the Galwan face-off where 20 Indian soldiers were killed, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has said the Galwan valley is located on the Chinese side of the LAC in the west section of the China-India boundary.
“For many years, the Chinese border troops have been patrolling and on duty in this region,” Zhao said alleging that since April this year, the Indian border troops have unilaterally and continuously built roads, bridges and other facilities at the LAC in the Galwan Valley.
China has lodged representations and protests on multiple occasions but India has gone even further to cross the LAC and make provocations, Zhao said.
By the early morning of May 6, the Indian border troops, who had crossed the LAC by night and trespassed into China’s territory, built fortification and barricades, which impeded the patrol of Chinese border troops, Zhao said adding that they deliberately made provocations in an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo of control and management.
The Chinese border troops, he said, were “forced to take necessary measures to respond to the situation on the ground and strengthen management and control in the border areas.”
In order to ease the situation, China and India have stayed in close communication through military and diplomatic channels, he said. “In response to the strong demand of the Chinese side, India agreed to withdraw the personnel who crossed the LAC and demolish the facilities, and so they did.
On June 6, the border troops of both countries held a commander-level meeting and reached consensus on easing the situation. The Indian side, he said, promised that they would not cross the estuary of the Galwan river to patrol and build facilities and the two sides would discuss and decide phased withdrawal of troops through the meetings between commanders on the ground.
“Shockingly, on the evening of June 15, India’s front-line troops, in violation of the agreement reached at the commander-level meeting, once again crossed the Line of Actual Control for deliberate provocation when the situation in the Galwan Valley was already easing, and even violently attacked the Chinese officers and soldiers who went there for negotiation, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties.”
“The adventurous acts of the Indian army have seriously undermined the stability of the border areas, threatened the lives of Chinese personnel, violated the agreements reached between the two countries on the border issue, and breached the basic norms governing international relations,” the spokesperson said.
Beijing, he said, hopes that India will work with China, follow faithfully the important consensus reached between the two leaders, abide by the agreements reached between the two governments, and strengthen communication and coordination on properly managing the current situation through diplomatic and military channels, and jointly uphold peace and stability in the border areas.
The government on Saturday called China’s claim over Ladakh’s Galwan Valley unacceptable and clarified that the violent faceoff, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, had taken place due to the intrusion of Chinese troops into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an all-party meeting said that there are no intrusions into the Indian territory in Ladakh, and not a single Indian border post is overrun, triggering confusion about the violent clashes that led to the killing of 20 Indian Army soldiers in Galwan Valley on Monday night.
After Prime Minister’s ambiguous statement, China on Saturday morning claimed its sovereignty over the entire Galwan Valley.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the government has now said that China’s claims over Galwan Valley are unacceptable.
Reiterating that the position with regard to the Galwan Valley area has been historically clear, official spokesperson of the MEA, Anurag Srivastava, said the “attempts by the Chinese side to now advance exaggerated and untenable claims with regard to the LAC there are not acceptable.”
Beijing’s latest claims, the government said, “are not in accordance with China’s own position in the past.”
Giving a point-by-point rebuttal to China’s claims about the sequence of events that led to massive violence at the LAC, the spokesperson said that since early May 2020, the Chinese side has been hindering India’s normal, traditional patrolling pattern in the area.
“This had resulted in a faceoff which was addressed by the ground commanders as per the provisions of the bilateral agreements and protocols. We do not accept the contention that India was unilaterally changing the status quo. On the contrary, we were maintaining it,” he said.
The government said that subsequently in mid-May, the Chinese side attempted to transgress the LAC in other areas of the Western Sector of the India-China border areas.
“These attempts were invariably met with an appropriate response from us,” the statement said.
Thereafter, the two sides were engaged in discussions through established diplomatic and military channels to address the situation arising out of Chinese activities on the LAC.
Recalling that the senior commanders of both sides met on June 6, the government said that both China and India agreed on a process for de-escalation and disengagement along the LAC that involved reciprocal actions. Both sides had agreed to respect and abide by the LAC and not undertake any activity to alter the status quo.
“However, the Chinese side departed from these understandings in respect of the LAC in the Galwan Valley area and sought to erect structures just across the LAC. When this attempt was foiled, Chinese troops took violent actions on June 15, 2020 that directly resulted in casualties,” the government in New Delhi said.
Indian troops, the government reiterated, are fully familiar with the alignment of the LAC in all sectors of the India-China border areas, including in the Galwan Valley.
“They abide by it scrupulously here, as they do elsewhere. The Indian side has never undertaken any actions across the LAC. In fact, they have been patrolling this area for a long time without any incident. All infrastructure built by the Indian side is naturally on its own side of the LAC,” the statement said.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and the Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi, had a conversation on June 17 wherein Jaishankar conveyed India’s protest in the strongest terms on the events leading up to and on the violent face-off on June 15.
He firmly rejected the unfounded allegations made by the Chinese side and the misrepresentation of the understandings reached between the senior Commanders. He also underlined that it was for China to reassess its actions and take corrective steps.
The two Ministers also agreed that the overall situation would be handled in a responsible manner and that both sides would implement the disengagement understanding of June 6 sincerely.
“The two sides are in regular touch and early meetings of military and diplomatic mechanisms are currently being discussed,” the spokesperson said. (IANS)