Hours before the first in-person Quad summit, India strongly rebutted Beijing’s renewed claim that the Galwan clashes took place because of India violating agreements in “encroaching” Chinese territory.
After Beijing claimed yet again that the Galwan valley incident took place because India violated all agreements and encroached upon China’s territory, India hit back saying it was China’s provocative behaviour, including unilateral attempts to change the LAC status quo, that disturbed border peace. The Galwan clashes in Ladakh last year left 20 Indian soldiers dead. China too suffered several casualties.
“We reject such statements. Our position with regard to developments last year along the LAC in eastern Ladakh has been clear and consistent. It was the provocative behaviour and unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter status quo in contravention of all our bilateral agreements that resulted in serious disturbance of peace and tranquility,” said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in a statement.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar had discussed the situation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in a meeting in Dushanbe earlier this month. The MEA recalled that Jaishankar had conveyed to Wang in the meeting that India expected China to work towards early resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh “while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols”.
While this wasn’t the first time that China blamed India for Galwan, the timing on this occasion is significant as it came just before the Quad summit in the US. Beijing and Moscow see Quad as an exercise meant to undermine and contain China.
Responding to a question on the Quad summit, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Friday “a closed, exclusive clique targeting other countries runs counter to the trend of the times and the aspirations of regional countries”. He added it will find no support and was doomed to fail.
The spokesperson said “relevant countries” should view China's development in correct light and do more to promote solidarity and cooperation among countries in the region.