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Reactions from China
|Pangong Tso Lake in the Himalayan Mountains. Photo: CNN|
A day after the Indian Armyannounced that it had taken “measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions” to change the status quo on the south bank of Pangong Tso, China on Tuesday said that Indian troops had “violated” the consensus on August 31 and “illegally trespassed the LAC”, according to Indian Express.
The Chinese embassy spokesperson Ji Rong said, in a statement, “On August 31st, Indian troops violated the consensus reached in previous multi-level engagements and negotiations between China and India, illegally trespassed the Line of Actual Control again at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake and near the Reqin Pass in the western sector of China-India border, and conducted flagrant provocations, which again stirred tension in the border areas.”
“India’s move has grossly violated China’s territorial sovereignty, seriously violated relevant agreements, protocols and important consensus reached between the two countries, and severely damaged peace and tranquility along the China-India border areas. What India has done runs counter to the efforts made by both sides for a period of time to ease and cool down the situation on the ground, and China is resolutely opposed to this,” she said.
The Chinese embassy spokesperson said that China has made “solemn representations to the Indian side, urged the Indian side to strictly control and restrain its frontline troops, earnestly honor its commitments, immediately stop all the provocative actions, immediately withdraw its troops illegally trespassing the Line of Actual Control, immediately stop any actions leading to the escalation and complication of the situation”.
Chinese embassy spokesperson’s statement is on the same lines as the Chinese Defence and Foreign ministry statements on Monday. Sources had said that Indian troops had moved in to occupy dominating heights on its side of the LAC on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday on the south bank of Pangong Tso, after ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) reports suggested a PLA move to occupy the same areas.
These heights are also claimed by the Chinese, as lying on their side of the LAC.
Indian troops, sources said, have positioned themselves at a more advantageous location to prevent Chinese troops from coming in. The area, east of Thakung base, has always been under Indian control and is west of the Indian perception of the LAC, the sources said.
On Monday, Chinese Western Theatre Command’s spokesperson Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili said in Chengdu that India troops on Monday illegally trespassed the Line of Control (LOC) again at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake and near the Reqin Mountain and conducted flagrant provocations. He also “urged” that the Indian side should immediately withdraw its troops and avoid any escalation in the situation.
‘Anyone who holds the heights has the upper hand’
|Indian Army troops (Doordarshan)|
The Indian Army has issued a statement saying that on the night of 29 August, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo.
Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso, undertook measures to strengthen positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground, it said.
The statement added that the Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity through dialogue, but is also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity.
“The Chinese had planned to capture these heights which would have given them an advantage. In such terrain, anyone who has the heights holds the upper hand,” The Print quote a source said.
Elaborating on the Army statement, a source said after picking up intelligence about Chinese movement at around 11 pm Saturday to capture fresh territory in the cover of darkness, Indian troops moved in faster and occupied the heights that are claimed by both countries.
Sources said the demand within a certain section in the defense and security establishment was that India should dominate heights and passes in locations where it can, in order to counter China’s aggression in other areas.
Even though formal talks between the two sides have not made any headway since July, China continues with its massive military build-up along the LAC, which includes the construction of new heliports and surface-to-air missiles sites.
“It shows the situation is serious,” said Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at New Delhi’s Centre for Policy Research. “The Chinese are still seeking to advance their aggression by encroaching on further Indian areas.”
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