India rejects China’s claims of trespass

New Delhi says People’s Liberation Army is blocking Indian patrols in Ladakh and Sikkim.

India on May 21 rejected China’s claim that troops have trespassed into Chinese territory, and accused Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops of “hindering” patrols by Indian soldiers. In a first such statement after weeks of a standoff between Indian and Chinese soldiers at four points along the boundary in Sikkim and Ladakh, the Ministry of External Affairs also told China that “peace and tranquillity in border areas” is an “essential prerequisite” to developing bilateral relations.

“Any suggestion that Indian troops had undertaken activity across the LAC in the Western Sector or the Sikkim sector is not accurate. Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas and abide by it scrupulously,” said MEA official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava. “All Indian activities are entirely on the Indian side of the LAC. In fact, it is Chinese side that has recently undertaken activity hindering India’s normal patrolling patterns,” he added.

The remarks followed claims by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 19 that Indian troops were attempting to “unilaterally change” the status quo at the boundary between them, and “blocking” patrolling by Chinese border guards.

On May 21, the Chinese MFA issued another statement repeating the claims and said that Chinese troops “firmly” dealt with what it called the Indian troops “crossover and infringement activities,” while also telling the United States not to interfere in the dispute between India and China. “We urge the Indian side to work together with us, abide by our leadership’s important consensus, comply with the agreements signed, refrain from unilateral actions complicating the situation,” said MFA spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

With inputs from Ananth Krishnan in Chennai; The Hindu