New Delhi: In a pointed and categorical message to China, India has once again reiterated that Galwan Valley is historically its territory and New Delhi will not accept "untenable and exaggerated" claims by China with regard to Line of Actual Control (LAC).
"The position with regard to the Galwan Valley area has been historically clear. Attempts by the Chinese side to now advance exaggerated and untenable claims with regard to Line of Actual Control (LAC) there are not acceptable. They are not in accordance with China's own position in the past," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Saturday.
He was responding to media queries on the statement issued by the Chinese Spokesperson on June 19 on the events in the Galwan valley area.
In point by point response to the Chinese claims, Srivastava said the Indian side has never undertaken any actions across the LAC and all infrastructure built by the Indian side is naturally on its own side.
"Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the LAC in all sectors of the India-China border areas, including in the Galwan Valley. They abide by it scrupulously here, as they do elsewhere. The Indian side has never undertaken any actions across the LAC. In fact, they have been patrolling this area for a long time without any incident. All infrastructure built by the Indian side is naturally on its own side of the LAC," he said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry yesterday claimed that Galwan valley is its territory and that India is trying to alter the LAC.
Debunking China's claim in the areas, Srivastava said "since early May, the Chinese side has been hindering India's normal, traditional patrolling pattern in this area".
"This had resulted in a face-off which was addressed by the ground commanders as per the provisions of the bilateral agreements and protocols. We do not accept the contention that India was unilaterally changing the status quo. On the contrary, we were maintaining it," he said.
"Subsequently in mid-May, the Chinese side attempted to transgress the LAC in other areas of the Western Sector of the India-China border areas. These attempts were invariably met with an appropriate response from us. Thereafter, the two sides were engaged in discussions through established diplomatic and military channels to address the situation arising out of Chinese activities on the LAC," he added.
The MEA said the senior commanders met on June 6 and agreed on a process for de-escalation and disengagement along the LAC that involved reciprocal actions.
"Both sides had agreed to respect and abide by the LAC and not undertake any activity to alter the status quo. However, the Chinese side departed from these understandings in respect of the LAC in the Galwan Valley area and sought to erect structures just across the LAC. When this attempt was foiled, Chinese troops took violent actions on June 15, 2020 that directly resulted in casualties" the spokesperson said.
Referring to telephone conversation between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on June 17, Srivastava said the EAM conveyed India's protest "in the strongest terms on the events leading up to and on the violent face-off on June 15, 2020".
"He firmly rejected the unfounded allegations made by the Chinese side and the misrepresentation of the understandings reached between the Senior Commanders. He also underlined that it was for China to reassess its actions and take corrective steps," Srivastava said.
He said that the two ministers also agreed that the overall situation would be handled in a responsible manner, and that both sides would implement the disengagement understanding of 6 June sincerely.
The spokesperson said the two sides are in regular touch and early meetings of military and diplomatic mechanisms are currently being discussed.
He said India expects China to sincerely follow the understanding reached between ministers for peace in border areas which is essential for the development of bilateral ties.
"We expect that the Chinese side will sincerely follow the understanding reached between the Foreign Ministers to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas, which is so essential for the overall development of our bilateral relations," Srivastava said.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.