(This was originally posted in The New Indian Express)
India on Thursday blamed China’s actions of amassing a large number of troops close to the border and attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) last year for the continuing military standoff in eastern Ladakh and asserted that these acts were in violation of bilateral agreements.
India’s comments on the border row came a day after China said its military deployment in the region is a normal defence arrangement aimed at “preventing and responding” to “encroachment and threat” on Chinese territory by “relevant country”.
“It is well recognised that it has been the Chinese actions over the last year, including amassing of a large number of troops close to border areas in the western sector and trying to unilaterally alter the status quo along the LAC, which have seriously disturbed peace and tranquility in the border areas,” the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.
“These acts are in violation of our bilateral agreements, including the 1993 and 1996 agreements that mandate that the two sides shall strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control and that two sides will keep their military forces in the areas along the LAC to a minimum level,” Bagchi said.
He was responding to a question on the comments made by Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Wednesday that the military deployment by China in the western sector along the border is a “normal defence arrangement”. Zhao made these comments when asked about External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent remarks that the issue relating to the border row is whether Beijing would live up to its written commitments about not deploying a large armed force along the frontier.