China's 'provocative behaviour' disturbed peace in eastern Ladakh: India; rejects fresh Chinese comments on Galwan


NEW DELHI/BEIJING: India on Friday strongly rejected China’s fresh comments blaming it for the Galwan valley clashes and asserted that the “provocative behaviour and unilateral” attempts by the Chinese side to alter the status quo in eastern Ladakh resulted in serious disturbance of peace and tranquillity in the mountainous region.

Reacting to the Chinese remarks made earlier in the day, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also said Chinese actions have impacted bilateral relations.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson had again claimed at a media briefing in Beijing that the Galwan valley clashes took place because India “encroached upon China’s territory” and violated all agreements.

“We reject such statements. Our position with regard to developments last year along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh has been clear and consistent,” Bagchi said in response to a question on the fresh remarks by China.

“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 tranquillity. This has also impacted the bilateral relations,” he said.

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Twenty Indian Army personnel laid down their lives in deadly clashes with the Chinese troops in Galwan Valley on June 15 last year that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.

In February, China officially acknowledged that five Chinese military officers and soldiers were killed in the clashes with the Indian Army though it is widely believed that the death toll was higher.

“As emphasized by the external affairs minister in his meeting with Chinese foreign minister earlier this month, it is our expectation that the Chinese side will work towards early resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols,” Bagchi said.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi had met in Dushanbe on the sidelines of the SCO summit last week.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that all the agreements and treaties signed between China and India on upholding the peace and stability in the area of the LAC have played an important role in upholding stability in the border areas.

“Last year’s Galwan valley incident took place because India violated all the signed agreements and treaties and encroached upon Chinese territory and illegally crossed the line,” Zhao claimed.

“We hope India will abide by all the signed agreements and uphold peace and stability in the border region with concrete actions,” Zhao said in reply to a question on India’s border patrol protocols.

At the meeting with Wang on September 16, Jaishankar conveyed that the two sides should work for an early resolution of the remaining issues.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the two foreign ministers agreed that the military and diplomatic officials of both sides should meet again and discuss resolving the remaining issues at the earliest.

The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in Gogra area in eastern Ladakh last month.

In February, the two sides completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in line with an agreement on disengagement.

Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the sensitive sector.