China Toughens Stance on Ladakh by Terming It as 'Illegally Established' Indian Territory
Pratibha Sharma. Sputnik International
16:17 GMT 29.09.2020
Facing their worst standoff in decades, India and China have engaged in full blown clashes at the eastern Ladakh border since June this year. While 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives on 15 June, China is yet to reveal the number of its casualties. Negotiations to resolve the dispute have failed to yield results so far.
Voicing its objection to India's building of roads along the border, China said on Tuesday that it does not recognise the so-called Union Territory of Ladakh.
Opposing infrastructure construction in disputed border areas for "military control purposes", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, "neither side should take any actions in border areas that would complicate the situation, so as not to affect the efforts of both sides to ease the situation".
Against the backdrop of the border tensions with China, India has been building roads and bridges in eastern Ladakh to gain year-around access to the region even during winter. This sparked tensions between the two countries in April, leading to unsuccessful rounds of negotiations.
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in parliament recently that the government has doubled the infrastructure budget for the India-China border.
The tensions resulted in clashes between the two armies in the disputed Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on the intervening night of 15-16 June.
It is worth noting that India revoked the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir to facilitate its complete integration into the Indian Union. The territory was bifurcated into the federally-administered units of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
In a stiff response to the move, China called the division "unlawful and void".
Meanwhile, reacting to the statement, India's former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal termed it a matter of internal affairs for India and called the remark "unacceptable".
"Tell China bluntly it has changed Tibet's internal boundaries and, worse, extended its external boundaries unlawfully into Ladakh and elsewhere", he said.
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