India on Thursday, 24 June, blamed China’s actions of stationing a large number of troops in border areas and last year’s attempt to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as the reason for the ongoing tensions.
India also dismissed China’s contention that the Centre’s policies were to be blamed for the ongoing tensions.
India’s comments came a day after China claimed that 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”, The Indian Express reported.
“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 tranquillity in the border areas.”Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson, External Affairs Ministry
Even after 11 core-commander-level talks for disengagement and de-escalation at the LAC, the relation between the two countries is still at a crossroads.
India has insisted that peace and tranquillity on LAC is a prerequisite for normalcy in the overall bilateral relationship.
A pull back of forces on both sides from the site of the Galwan clash was conducted in July 2020 and in February 2021, disengagement was conducted in the Pangong Tso lake area.
However, China is continuing to push back on other disputed territories like the Depsang Plains, Kugrang river valley, and the Charding Nala. This has also prevented Indian troops to patrol these large chunks of territory, which they were able to earlier.
Bagchi was quoted as saying, “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.”
Since the Galwan clash of 15 June 2020, India has imposed several economic restrictions on Chinese companies in India and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from China. It also banned 59 Chinese-made apps, which according to the Ministry of Information Technology, threatened the sovereignty and integrity of India.
Even though the relationship between India and China has undergone a massive shift – especially from the agreements between the two neighbours on bringing large armed forces to the border – there is no clarity on where the relationship currently stands and the way ahead.
(With inputs from The Indian Express)