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China reiterates ‘historical legacy’ to continue holding up resolution of Ladakh border dispute

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(TibetanReview.net, Jan26’24) China has responded with what amounted to saying a polite “no” to India’s suggestion that it could ease its heightened scrutiny of Chinese investments if peace is restored at the two countries’ border along occupied Tibet. The boundary dispute is a “legacy issue” and it is “unwise” to link the border issue with the overall relations as it does not represent the whole picture of the bilateral relations, Reuters Jan 25 cited a Chinese defence ministry spokesperson as saying.

Senior Colonel Wu Qian made the remarks at a media briefing in Beijing in response to a question on India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s reported statement that China violated the bilateral consensus in 2020 and assembled a large number of military forces along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), resulting in the conflict in the Galwan Valley, reported the PTI new agency Jan 25.

The report noted that the India-China relations had remained frozen since May 2020 when the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) amassed troops in eastern Ladakh that led to a deadly clash between the two militaries at the Galwan Valley in Jun 2020, resulting in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese military personnel.

Wu has repeated Beijing’s claim that the Galwan Valley lies on the Chinese side of the western sector along the LAC and the relevant incident happened when the Indian side violated the consensus and made unilateral provocations. “Therefore, the responsibility entirely lies with the Indian side,” he has maintained.

India has been pressing the PLA to disengage from the Depsang and Demchok areas in eastern Ladakh. While India has maintained that there cannot be restoration of normalcy in its relations with China as long as the state of the borders remains abnormal, China continues to press India to delink the border issue and bilateral relations and work for normalcy.

Wu has sought to make the point that in the past three years, the two countries had maintained communication and coordination through military and diplomatic channels.

The two militaries held 20 rounds of Corps Commanders level meetings and agreed to disengage from four points mainly the Galwan Valley, the Pangong lake, Hot Springs and Jianan Daban (Gogra) contributing to the de-escalating tension along the border, he has asserted.

“The border dispute,” Wu has insisted, “is a legacy with India but that does not represent the whole picture of the bilateral relations.”

“Therefore, it is unwise and inappropriate for the Indian side to link the border issue with the overall relations. It goes against the shared interests of the two countries.

“We hope the Indian side can work with the Chinese side to enhance strategic mutual trust, properly handle differences and safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”

Meanwhile, differences remain unresolved over pulling back of troops from the Depsang plains areas and Charding Nullah near Demchok in eastern Ladakh. Talks remain deadlocked over the resolution of disputes at Depsang, a 972-sq-km plateau where the two sides have issue over troop positions, especially at ‘bottleneck’ on the eastern edge of Depsang, the tribuneindia.com earlier reported Aug 15, 2023.

India has been objecting to the PLA deliberately blocking Indian patrols on this specific patrolling route in Depsang, the report said.

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