Home / News / India /  China spokesman blames India's border infrastructure upgrade for tensions

NEW DELHI: Beijing on Tuesday took offence to India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh opening new bridges--many of them providing all-weather access along its disputed border with China--blaming upgradation of border infrastructure as the "root cause" of tensions and warning that the move could aggravate the situation between the two countries.

A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry Zhao Lijian also said India has been increasing troop deployment along the border which has exacerbated tensions. China does not recognise the new union territory of Ladakh which he said was "illegally" established by India. He added China does not recognise Arunachal Pradesh as part of India either.

The comments come a day after military commanders of India and China held the seventh round of talks in Chushul in Ladakh on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to diffuse the border conflict.

In his briefing on Tuesday, when asked about India inaugurating 44 new bridges, some in Ladakh, where India and China have each amassed over 50,000 soldiers each along with tanks, missiles and fighter aircraft on stand-by, 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."

“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 said.

On Monday, Singh had inaugurated the bridges and other border infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh and other parts of India that will allow the speedier movement of troops, artillery, tanks and other military hardware closer to the border.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while inaugurating an all weather tunnel in Himachal Pradesh had pledged to press on with border infrastructure that has emerged as key irritant in India-China ties. 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, as mountain spurs jutting into the lake are known. This was an area previously claimed by India along the disputed border in Ladakh.

According to two people familiar with the matter, China has been insisting that India pull out troops from the south bank of the Pangong Tso lake while India has been calling for complete disengagement and de-escalation. India and Chinese troops have been deployed at close quarters, some within a few hundred metres of each other, in what is seen as the worst military crisis between the two countries since the 1962 war.

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