An Indian Army convoy moves along the Srinagar-Leh National highway (PTI photo)
After China claimed sovereignty over the Galwan valley, possibly for the first time in decades, India warned China Thursday that making “exaggerated and untenable” claims was contrary to the June 6 understanding between the senior commanders for de-escalation and disengagement along LAC.
The government recalled that both sides had agreed that the overall situation be handled in a responsible manner and that the June 6 understanding be implemented sincerely. China has twice made the claim since the June 15 violent clashes at Galwan. This has come as a surprise to many as, in the absence of any intrusion for decades, the LAC was thought to be settled there.
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has also accused India of crossing the LAC. As India’s former ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale says though, China appears to have forgotten that India does not accept its idea or definition of the LAC.
“She is attempting to unilaterally decide where the LAC lies. This is laughable. The Chinese PLA has violated all bilateral agreements aimed at maintaining peace and tranquility on our borders,” says Bambawale, who has also served as India’s envoy to Pakistan, adding India will need to reassess and recalibrate its China policy.
The Chinese foreign ministry Thursday again accused Indian troops of breaking the consensus and crossing LAC.
The MEA here said though that, given its responsible approach to border management, India was very clear that all its activities were always within the Indian side of the LAC. “We expect the Chinese side to also confine it’s activities to it’s side of the LAC,” said spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.
Recalling PM Narendra Modi‘s statement Wednesday, the ministry said the government remained strongly committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, even as it was convinced of the need for maintenance of peace and tranquility in the borders areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue.
“The two sides are in regular touch through their respective embassies and foreign offices. At the ground level the two sides have maintained communication at the commanders’ level. Meetings of other established diplomatic mechanisms such as Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs (WMCC) are under discussion,” said the official.
Reiterating that Chinese troops tried to unilaterally change the status quo with their premeditated and planned action, the government said this could have been avoided had the June 6 agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side.
During his telephone conversation with Wang, the spokesperson recalled, foreign minister S Jaishankar conveyed that the need of the hour was for the Chinese side to reassess its actions and take corrective steps.
“They should strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control and not take any unilateral action to alter it. It was agreed that both sides would implement the dis-engagement understanding of 6th June sincerely. Neither side would take any action to escalate matters and instead, ensure peace and tranquility as per bilateral agreements and protocols,” said Srivastava.