Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian also says that India has been stepping up troop deployment along the border which too was adding to the tensions
China does not recognize the Union Territory of Ladakh, which he said was 'illegally' established by New Delhi
NEW DELHI: China on Tuesday took offence to the opening of a series of new bridges by India along its border regions. Upgradation of border infrastructure, it said, was the “root cause" of tensions and warned this could aggravate the situation between the two countries.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian also said that India has been stepping up troop deployment along the border which too was adding to the tensions. China does not recognize the Union Territory of Ladakh which he said was “illegally" established by New Delhi and added that neither did Beijing accept Arunachal Pradesh as part of India.
The belligerent remarks by Zhao seemed to contrast with a joint statement issued after the seventh round of talks between the military commanders of the two countries on Monday in Chushul in Ladakh on the Indian side of Line of Actual Control (LAC). The aim was to preserve an uneasy calm in place for a month after tensions escalating to unprecedented levels since May.
There was no breakthrough but a joint statement said the “two sides had a sincere, in-depth and constructive exchange of views on disengagement.. They were of the view that these discussions were positive, constructive and had enhanced understanding of each other’s positions." One of the ouctoomes was that the two countries “agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels" to “arrive at a mutually acceptable solution for disengagement as early as possible," it said. The commanders also concurred on the need “not to turn differences into disputes, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas," the statement added.
Earlier in the day, at a foreign office briefing, when asked about India inaugurating 44 new bridges, Zhao said: “China stands against development of infrastructure facilities aimed at military contention along the border. Based on the two sides consensus neither should take action that might escalate the situation."
The comment was in response to India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh inaugurating 44 bridges – across the western, northern and northeastern parts of India on Monday. These were in the states of Jammu and Kashmir (10), Ladakh (08), Himachal Pradesh (02), Punjab (04), Uttarakhand (08), Arunachal Pradesh (08) and Sikkim (04). The bridges will allow India speedier movement of troops, artillery, tanks and other military hardware closer to the border.
“For some time, the Indian side has been ramping up infrastructure development along the border and stepping up military deployment that is the root cause of tensions between the two countries. China asks the India side to refrain from taking actions that might escalate the situation and take concrete measures to safeguard peace and tranquility along the border," Zhao added.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while inaugurating an all- weather tunnel in Himachal Pradesh pledged to press on with border infrastructure. In recent months, India has completed 74 strategic roads along the eastern border, with plans to finish 20 more by next year.
Zhao’s reference to Indian troop deployment could refer to India moving troops to vantage heights along the south bank of Pangong Tso and redeploying some forces in along the north bank of the lake that has become a major friction point between India and China. Chinese troops are at Finger 4, a mountain spur jutting into the lake. According to two people familiar with the matter, China has been insisting that India pull out troops from the south bank while India has been calling for complete disengagement and de-escalation.
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