India on Friday blamed China for the standoff in Eastern Ladakh, criticising the country once again for violating bilateral agreements”, as the stalemate dragged on towards the new year with no breakthrough in sight.
“The situation that we have seen since the last six months has been a result of the actions of the Chinese side which has sought to effect a unilateral change in status along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh,” the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
“These actions are in violation of the bilateral agreements and protocol on ensuring peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the India-China border areas,” he added.
Mr Srivastava was responding to a question about the new comments by the Chinese foreign ministry blaming India again for the border situation.
“The core issues, as I mentioned last week, remains that both sides need to strictly follow the various bilateral agreements and protocols in their entirety, including the 1993 and 1996 agreement on maintenance of peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the border areas, which require that there should not be amassing of troops, each side should strictly abide by and respect the LAC and should not take any unilateral action to alter it,” he said.
“We have taken note of the Chinese side’s statement that it observes ‘strictly the agreements between the two sides and is committed to resolving the border issue through dialogue and safeguarding peace and tranquillity’ in the border areas. We expect that the Chinese side will match its words with actions,” the official added.
“The two sides have continued to maintain communication through diplomatic and military channels. It is our expectation that the further discussions will help both sides to achieve an agreement on a mutually acceptable solution for ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC in the Western sector and full restoration of peace and tranquility as early as possible,” he said.
Tensions between the two countries have run high since June when at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed after being attacked by Chinese troops using rocks and clubs. Indian officials say the Chinese troops had intruded across the disputed border in a remote valley. China said the Indian soldiers’ actions had been provocative.
Since then, the nuclear-armed neighbours have deployed tens of thousands of troops on the rugged frontier between India’s Ladakh region and the Chinese-held Tibetan plateau, raising the risk of further confrontation even while looking for ways to de-escalate.