MEA rejects Beijing’s remarks on Galwan clashes, blames China’s ‘provocative behaviour’ for standoff
The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday rejected China’s allegations that India’s “illegal trespass” of the Line of Actual Control led to the clashes at the Galwan Valley in Ladakh in June last year, reported PTI.“It was the provocative behaviour and unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter status quo in contravention of all our bilateral agreements that resulted in serious disturbance of peace and tranquility,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.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.Earlier on Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a press conference 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 remarks come less than a week since 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 Galwan clashes had 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.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”.