NEW DELHI: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Saturday clarified that China’s untenable claims regarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) are “unacceptable” to India and contradicts its earlier stand on the issue.
Responding to media queries about the India-China face-off and Chinese Foreign Ministry’s statement, the MEA issued a statement saying, “The position with regard to GalwanValley area has been historically clear. Attempts by Chinese side to now advance exaggerated and untenable claims with regard to the LAC there aren't acceptable. They aren't in accordance with China’s own past position.”
The Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava, also categorically rejected China’s claim that India was unilaterally changing the status quo. It may be recalled that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had earlier in the day claimed that Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh is located on the Chinese side of the border, which was rejected by the MEA.
“Since early May 2020, Chinese have been hindering India's normal patrolling pattern in the area. This resulted in face-off which was addressed by ground commanders. We don't accept the contention that India was unilaterally changing status quo, we were maintaining it,” the MEA spokesperson said.
He also added that the “Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the LAC in all sectors of India-China border areas, including the GalwanValley. They abide by it scrupulously here, as they do elsewhere.”
Srivastava went on to say that 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 MEA official said.
Replying to a question on what led to clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops, he said, “Attempts of transgression by Chinese side were invariably met with appropriate response from us.”
He further said that India expects China to “sincerely follow” the agreement between Foreign Ministers of both countries to maintain peace in the region for the overall development of bilateral ties.
“We expect that the Chinese side will sincerely follow the understanding reached between the Foreign Ministers to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas, which is so essential for the overall development of our bilateral relations,” the MEA said.
Twenty Indian Army personnel, including a Colonel, were killed in the clashes with the Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on Monday night.
While China has acknowledged casualties on their side, it has not specified the numbers. Beijing has not made any official statement on the casualties suffered by the People's Liberation Army during the face-off with the Indian Army.