India slams China’s remarks on LAC tension

India on Thursday slammed remarks by China a day earlier that it was New Delhi’s aggressive policies that are to blame for the ongoing tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) border between the two countries.

“It is well recognized 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,” Indian foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said.

“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 Line of Actual Control to a minimum level,” he told reporters at a regular foreign office briefing in New Delhi.

The comments came as India and China were looking to hold a meeting of their diplomats to discuss ways to lessen the tensions between the two countries that have been at a high for almost 14 months. India and China also clashed at the border last year in June resulting in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of dead from the Chinese side though Beijing has put the number of its casualties at four.

On Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry blamed India for the increased troops presence saying it was done to prevent encroachment by India.

“The military deployment by China in the western sector along the border is a normal defensive arrangement. It is meant to prevent the encroachment or threat against China’s territory by relevant country,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing. “For quite some time the Indian side has been increasing its military along the border and encroaching upon the Chinese territory. This is the root cause of the tense situation along the borders,” Zhao added. “We advocate that we should address the boundary issue through peaceful negotiations, and we don’t think that the border issue should be linked up to our bilateral ties.”

The Chinese comments seemed to have been aimed at countering what Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday that issue between the two countries was whether China would live up to the commitments it has made about both countries not allowing a large armed force at the border.

China’s “close-up deployment still continues, especially in Ladakh,” Jaishankar told the Qatar Economic Forum.

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