(From Press Trust of India)
Downplaying Indian Army’s removal of a Chinese hut on Indian soil following fresh incursion by the PLA, China said Monday that there is no “face-off” along the border in Ladakh and sought “clarification” from India on the issue.
“As far as I know, there is no such face-off in the border area,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing in Beijing.
“The Chinese border troops have been performing their duties on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC),” he said in response to a question on new stand-off at Depsang in Ladakh where Indian troops removed a hut equipped with camera and other facilities and built by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops.
This is a consistent position maintained by China since the first Depsang stand-off broke out during the visit of Premier Li Keqiang in 2013 to India, asserting that the PLA troops are carrying out activities on their side of the border.
Since then, a few more stand-offs have taken place in Ladakh region.
A similar face-off took place at Chumar in Ladakh during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India last year.
It was resolved after several weeks of talks.
Hong said “the Chinese side is committed to maintaining peace and stability of the border region, we hope the Indian side can make clarification on this issue and work with us to maintain the peace and tranquillity of the border area”.
Pressed further to elaborate on China’s position, he said: “As I have pointed out, the Chinese border troops have been operating and carrying out relevant activities on the Chinese side of the control line and we are committed to maintaining peace and stability on the border area.”
He said the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries to maintain peace and tranquillity along the border is an “important support or guarantee for the sustained development of bilateral relations”.
During the wee hours of Sunday, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Army troops demolished the hut that was constructed 1.5 km inside the Line of Actual Control (LAC) leading to a face-off between the two sides at Depsang.
The construction at the area located 210 km northeast of Leh was done by the PLA to claim that the area belongs to them.
According to Indian officials, China has been trying to make inroads in Burtse area as it will give access to the PLA to monitor the activities of Indian troops based in Old Patrol base besides trying to deny an advantage to India to look over the Karakoram highway linking the territory illegally occupied by China with Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).
India and China share more than 4,000 km of LAC. China claims approximately 90,000 sq km of territory in Arunachal Pradesh besides 38,000 sq km in Jammu and Kashmir sector.
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