India’s ‘illegal trespass’ of LAC led to Galwan Valley clashes, alleges China
China on Friday blamed India for the clashes at the Galwan Valley in Ladakh in June last year, saying it took place due to India’s “illegal trespass” of the Line of Actual Control in violation of previously-signed agreements.Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clashes between Indian and Chinese troops on June 15, 2020. China put the number of casualties on its side at four. India’s Ministry of External Affairs said on June 16 last year that the clashes took place due to Beijing’s attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the area.But, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a press conference on Friday said the clashes occurred because India encroached upon China’s territory and violated all agreements. Zhao was responding to a question on the reorganisation of India’s military into theatre commands and its impact on the situation at the India-China border. “We hope that the Indian side will strictly abide by relevant treaties and agreements signed by the two countries and take concrete actions to safeguard peace and stability in the China-India border areas.” Zhao added.The clashes sparked off a standoff between India and China, with both countries bolstering forces along their sides of the border for months. The disengagement process along Pangong Tso in Ladakh began on February 10.Last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation at Dushanbe, Tajikistan.Jaishankar noted that since the last such meeting on July 14, there had been some progress in the “resolution of some issues” along the Line of Actual Control. He added that some matters still need to be resolved, according to an official statement.The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson also spoke about the first in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit slated to be held on Friday. The Quad, or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a grouping of India, Australia, the United States and Japan. The four countries first met in November 2017. Countering China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region is believed to be among the objectives of the grouping. The Chinese spokesperson said that any regional cooperation mechanism “should not target or harm the interests of a third party”.“A closed, exclusive clique targeting other countries runs counter to the trend of the times and the aspirations of regional countries,” Zhao said. “It will find no support and is doomed to fail.”He also said that relevant countries “should view China’s development in a correct light and do more to promote solidarity and cooperation among countries in the region”.