India rejected China’s position that it abides by its 1959 stand on the perception of the Line of Actual Control, and asked the neighbouring country to refrain from advancing an “untenable unilateral” interpretation of the de-facto border.
The stand by China spelt out by its foreign ministry insisting that it takes the 1959 line on perception of the LAC amid a nearly five-monthlong border standoff in eastern Ladakh triggered a strong reaction from India.
“India has never accepted the so-called unilaterally defined 1959 Line of Actual Control. This position has been consistent and well known, including to the Chinese side,” MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
The spokesperson’s comments came after a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Hindustan Times that China abides by the LAC as proposed by then Premier Zhou Enlai to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in a letter dated November 7, 1959.
Srivastava referred to various bilateral agreements including the 1993 agreement on maintenance of peace and tranquillity along the LAC, 1996 pact on confidence building measures (CBMs) and the 2005 agreement on political parameters and guiding principles for settlement of the boundary issue, to emphasise that both sides showed commitment to reach a common understanding of the alignment of the LAC.
“China has not recognised Ladakh Union Territory illegally set up by the Indian side”, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin was quoted by the media in Beijing when questioned on the issue.
Pertinently, China first expressed its opposition to India’s move to create a separate Union Territory of Ladakh, a day after the state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories on August 5, 2019, the then External Affairs Ministry spokesperson had said India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise.
“Based on the two sides’ consensus no side should engage in the border areas in any activities that might complicate the situation to avoid undermining efforts by the two sides to ease the situation”, Wang said.
India and China are locked in a nearly five-month-long border standoff in eastern Ladakh.
After marathon 14-hour talks between India and China at the Corps Commander level on September 21, both side said they will stop sending more troops to the region.