Home / Politics / Policy /  China dismisses Narendra Modi’s ‘expansionism’ barb

New Delhi: China on Monday said it had never waged a war to occupy “an inch of land of other countries", days after Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate in the upcoming national elections, warned China against “expansionism" in a rally in Arunachal Pradesh

The Chinese comments came on a day India and China discussed the implementation of a recently concluded border defence cooperation pact during the sixth round of the Annual Defence Dialogue between the two sides in New Delhi.

“You mentioned expansionism by the Chinese side. I believe all of you can see that China has never waged a war of aggression to occupy an inch of land of other countries," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters while responding to questions on Modi’s remarks, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

“We always reiterate that we take real actions to commit through the peaceful development path" and are committed to good neighbourliness and cooperative relations, she said.

“There has never been any armed clashes in border areas over the years. So there is very strong evidence that we have the capability to maintain peace there. This is very good for future development of the bilateral relations," Hua said, recalling that there was no major confrontation at Sino-Indian borders after the 1962 war.

“It is not only good for our two people but also to the whole region," Hua said, adding that “we hope to work together with our Indian counterpart to that end".

The Chinese response followed Modi’s comments at a rally in Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday in which he asked China to shed its “expansionist mindset" and “forge bilateral ties with India for peace, progress and prosperity of both the nations".

“Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and will always remain so. No power can snatch it from us. People of Arunachal Pradesh didn’t come under pressure or fear of China," Modi said.

China claims 90,000 sq. km of Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh and occupies around 38,000 sq. km in Jammu and Kashmir, which India claims as its territory. Also, under a China-Pakistan boundary agreement signed in March 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq. km of Indian territory in PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) to China, the Indian foreign ministry says.

While the India-China boundary has been largely calm, thanks to pacts signed in 1993, 1996 and 2005, both sides frequently accuse the other of incursions. One such incursion in April took a serious turn when Chinese soldiers intruded some 20km inside Indian territory, leading to a three-week-long stand-off between the neighbours—threatening to derail a visit in May by China’s newly installed leader Li Keqiang. But the situation was resolved and Li’s visit went ahead. During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China in October, the two countries also signed a border defence mechanism agreement to ensure that potentially volatile situations are defused quickly.

Responding to Modi’s remarks, Hua said, “our position on the eastern sector of the boundary is very consistent and clear cut. We would like to develop good neighbourliness and friendly relations with our neighbours and resolve relevant disputes and differences through dialogue and consultations."

Separately, India and China, in New Delhi, discussed ways to implement the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement signed during Singh’s visit to Beijing.

The Chinese side was headed by deputy chief of People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Wang Guanzhong, while defence secretary R.K. Mathur led the Indian delegation.

PTI reported that the issue of border violations by the Chinese troops is also learnt to have come up for discussion at the meeting.

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