China amassing troops, arms along LAC since early May: MEA

Dismissing its attempts to once again put the onus of the violent Galwan Valley on India, the Ministry of External Affairs, said that China has been amassing a large contingent of troops and armaments along the Line of Actual Control since early May, which escalated the tension between the two countries manifold and eventually led to the deadly clash.

Holding Beijing squarely responsible for the standoff in eastern Ladakh on June 15 in which 20 Indian soldiers died, India also asserted that the conduct of Chinese forces has been in complete disregard of all mutually agreed norms.

Giving a rundown of the incidents since May that eventually led to the deadliest Sino-India face-off in 45 years, MEA official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Chinese side took action to hinder India’s “normal, traditional” patrolling pattern in the Galwan Valley area while it sought to change the status quo in other areas of the Western Sector in mid-May.

“This is not in accordance with the provisions of our various bilateral agreements, especially the key 1993 Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas. This notes in particular that ‘each side will keep its military forces in the areas along the line of actual control to a minimum level compatible with friendly and good neighbourly relations between the two countries’. Obviously, the Indian side had to undertake counter deployments and the resulting tension has thereafter expressed itself.”

Srivastava maintained that ‘respecting and strictly observing the LAC is the basis for peace and tranquillity in the border areas’ and that ‘Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the LAC in all sectors of the India-China border areas and abide scrupulously by it.’

While military and diplomatic engagements between the two countries are currently on through commander level talks, the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs and Foreign Ministers of both countries continue to engage, India on Thursday warned that ‘a continuation of the current situation would only vitiate the atmosphere for the development of the relationship.’

Government sources said that the tension along the LAC continues with both sides building up its deployment. Even as talks are underway, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Wednesday said, “The merits of what happened are very clear. None of the responsibility lies with China.” He went on to blame India for ‘building roads and bridges at and across the LAC in the Galwan Valley, unilaterally changing the status quo’ and claimed that ‘the Galwan Valley lies on the Chinese side of the LAC.’ “On the early morning of May 6, Indian border troops crossed the LAC under the cover of night, trespassed into China’s territory and deliberately made provocations. The Chinese border troops were compelled to take necessary measures to respond to the situation on the ground and strengthen management and control along the border,” Lijian alleged in a press briefing.

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