New Delhi: Amid an ongoing military stand-off with India, China on Tuesday said it does not recognize the “illegally established” Union Territory of Ladakh.
The remarks came a day after India inaugurated 44 key bridges in the border areas of Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
Most of the newly-inaugurated bridges, including seven in Ladakh, are in strategically important areas and will help the armed forces in ensuring quick movement of troops and weapons.
Responding sharply to the opening of new bridges, the Chinese foreign ministry today said that Beijing stands against the development of infrastructure facilities that is aimed at military contention along the border areas.
“Based on the two sides’ consensus, neither should take action that might escalate the situation. That could also undermine efforts to ease the situation,” the Chinese foreign ministry said.
It added that it does not recognize the UT of Ladakh, which is “illegally” established by India, as well as the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
China also noted that the Indian side has been ramping up infrastructure development along the border areas and stepping up military deployment, which it termed as the “root cause” of tensions between the two countries.
The remarks came in the backdrop of US secretary of state Mike Pompeo revealing that China has amassed more than 60,000 troops on India’s northern border.
Amid the border standoff with China, India is expediting work on several key projects including on a strategic road linking Darcha in Himachal Pradesh with Ladakh that will criss-cross a number of high-altitude snow-bound passes.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the world’s longest motorable tunnel, the Atal Tunnel at Rohtang, at an altitude of over 3,000 metres (10,000 feet).
The tunnel, completed at a cost of 3,200 crore, will be crucial in defending the country and will allow mobility of defence forces in case of a prolonged standoff with China.
Named after late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the 9.02-km long tunnel passes under the Rohtang Pass in the eastern Pir Panjal range on the Leh-Manali highway. It has reduced the distance between Manali in Himachal Pradesh and Leh in Ladakh by 46 kilometres and saved over four hours of travel time.
All-weather bridge in Arunachal
In April this year, India opened an all-weather bridge, which can take 40 tons of weight, in Arunachal Pradesh to enable faster movement of troops and artillery.
The bridge is located in a region that witnessed a months-long military standoff between India and China in 2017 over the Doklam plateau.
(With inputs from Times of India)
(This story has not been edited by Kashmir Today staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)