China is hindering India’s normal patrolling along the Line of Actual Control, the Indian Foreign Office said on Thursday, adding that India had a responsible approach to border management.
“All Indian activities are entirely on our side of the LAC. Indian troops did not cross LAC in Western Sector or Sikkim. 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,” the ministry said.
“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. Indian side has always taken a very responsible approach towards border management. At the same time, we are deeply committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and security.”
There have been several instances in recent times of Chinese incursion near the Ladakh boundary, one of which led to a face-off between Indian and Chinese troops.
India reinforced troops in the region after reports of China pitching tents near river Galwan — a 1962 flashpoint that has seen aggression in recent days — and increasing construction activities.
Last month, Indian and Chinese soldiers were engaged in one of their most hostile clashes with hand-to-hand fighting in North Sikkim and on the banks of the high-altitude Pangong lake in Ladakh. There were reports of injuries on both sides.
Around the same time, Chinese helicopters were seen flying in eastern Ladakh, near the LAC or de-facto border between the two countries. The Air Force in response flew its Sukhoi-30 fighters.
On Tuesday, the Global Times, a mouthpiece of the Chinese government, said Chinese border troops have bolstered their defences in the Galwan Valley region in north Ladakh “and made necessary moves in response to India’s recent, illegal construction of defence facilities across the border into Chinese territory in the Galwan Valley region”. The article refers to the situation as “the strongest military response to India’s illegal trespassing incident along the border since the Doklam standoff.”
Last week, Army Chief General MM Naravane played down differences between India and China. “It is only at one or two places where this has happened. And this does happen from time to time. It also happens when there is a change of commanders on ground,” he said.
The US yesterday said border disputes with China — be it in Ladakh or in the South China Sea — were a “reminder of the threat by China”.
The “provocations and disturbing behaviour by China that poses questions about how China seeks to use its growing power”, said Alice Wells, Outgoing Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, in a strong statement.