A day after India’s allegation of Chinese intrusion and its measures to thwart the action, the Chinese side said that the Indian troops had violated the consensus on Monday and illegally trespassed the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“On August 31st, Indian troops violated the consensus reached in previous multi-level engagements and negotiations between China and India, illegally trespassed the Line of Actual Control again at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake and near the Reqin Pass in the western sector of China-India border, and conducted flagrant provocations, which again stirred tension in the border areas,” Chinese embassy spokesperson Ji Rong said in a statement.
“India’s move has grossly violated China’s territorial sovereignty, seriously violated relevant agreements, protocols and important consensus reached between the two countries, and severely damaged peace and tranquillity along with the China-India border areas. What India has done runs counter to the efforts made by both sides for a period of time to ease and cool down the situation on the ground, and China is resolutely opposed to this,” she said.
She further said that China has made “solemn representations to the Indian side, urged the Indian side to strictly control and restrain its frontline troops, earnestly honor its commitments, immediately stop all the provocative actions, immediately withdraw its troops illegally trespassing the Line of Actual Control, immediately stop any actions leading to the escalation and complication of the situation”.
Yesterday, the Indian Army said in a statement said that the Chinese Army has carried out provocative military movements on the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake on Saturday night to change the status quo.
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo,” said the statement.
“Indian troops preempted this PLA activity on the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground,” it said.
The statement further said that the army is committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity through dialogue, but is also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity.
Today, the Chinese embassy’s remarks are on the same line as that of the Chinese Defence Ministry and Foreign Ministry.
Yesterday, the Chinese Weterns Theatre Command’s spokesperson Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili said that Indian troops had illegally passed the LOC again at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake and near Reqin Mountain.
Shuili said that the Indian military’s move has violated the consensus reached in previous multi-level engagements and negotiations between the two countries.
He further pointed out that India’s move has grossly violated China’s territorial sovereignty, and severely damaged peace and stability in the China-India border area.
“We solemnly demand the Indian side to immediately withdraw its troops that (are) illegally trespassing the border line, strictly control and restrain its frontline troops and earnestly honor its commitments, so as to avoid further escalation in the situation,” he had said.
On the other side, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had said, Chinese border troops have been strictly observing the Line of Actual Control and never crossed the line. The Chinese and Indian border troops are in contact with each other regarding the issue on the ground.”
“China and India are in close communication through diplomatic and military channels. As for the specific meetings and talks, information will be released in due course once we have an update,” he added.
The two sides were engaged in a confrontation on the northern bank of Pangong Tso Lake but it was for the first time such an incident occurred on the southern bank.
It is the first major incident in the area after the Galwan Valley clashes on 15 June in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed. China also suffered casualties but it is yet to make the details public but according to an American intelligence report it was 35.
The stand-off between the two Asian superpowers escalated in the eastern Ladakh region in April-May and peaked on June 15 when 20 Indian soldiers were martyred at the Galwan Valley.
The bone of contention between the two sides is the interpretation of LAC in the mountainous region as the Indian side believes that Line of Actual Control lies at Finger 8 while China believes the LAC is at Finger 4.