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India downplays, China scolds US general who raised alarm over the latter’s Ladakh-border military built-up, behaviour

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(TibetanReview.net, Jun10’22) – In what appears to be a move to be conciliatory in the face of a visiting top US general’s remark that the scale of China’s building of military infrastructure and behaviour on the occupied Tibet side of India’s Ladakh border were “alarming” and “eye-opening”, India said Jun 9 that military and diplomatic dialogue had seen “some progress” and led to successful disengagement in a number of areas in eastern Ladakh.

India also said it was closely monitoring China’s border moves and taking counter measures while on the same day Beijing has accused the US of trying to add “fuel to the fire” and “pointing fingers” while terming the US general’s remarks as a “despicable act”.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), while not responding directly to the comments by the Commander of US Army Pacific General Charles A Flynn, reiterated that New Delhi “carefully monitors” developments along the border areas, reported thehindu.com Jun 10. And noting that the two sides had agreed to hold another round of Corps Commander talks, MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has raised “expectation” that in these talks the Chinese side will work with the Indian side to reach a “mutually acceptable solution for remaining issues.”

In his response, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Spokesperson Zhao Lijian has said, “This border issue is between China and India, the two sides have the will and capability to properly resolve the issue through talks and some US officials are trying to add fuel to the fire and pointing fingers,” He has called the UN general’s remarks “a despicable act”.

Mr Zhao has maintained that the situation on the India-China border was now stabilising “on the whole” and the frontline forces from both countries had “realised disengagement in most areas along the western section.”

Earlier, in an interaction with journalists on Jun 8, Flynn questioned China’s “intentions” behind its huge military infrastructure built up close to India’s border while also expressing concern at their “behaviour”.

On the regional situation, Flynn has said what China were doing today by taking an “incremental and insidious path” and the “destabilising and coercive behaviour” that they project into the region were simply “not helpful.”

And Mr Bagchi, while responding to questions at his weekly press conference, has said India remained committed to and took all adequate and appropriate measures to safeguard territorial integrity and sovereignty as the developments in the recent years clearly demonstrated.

The report noted that the two sides had held 15 Rounds of Senior Commanders’ Meetings and 10 Rounds of meetings of WMCC so far; that they undertook disengagement from both sides of Pangong Tso in Feb 2021, and from Patrolling Point (PP) 17A in Gogra Hot Springs area in Aug 2021, in addition to Galwan in Jun 2020 after the violent clash. The other friction areas yet to be resolved are PP15, Demchok and Depsang.

Meanwhile, in an opinion piece in the Times of India Jun 9, retired Indian Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur said that though the eyeball-to-eyeball deployment that resulted after the bloody events of 2020 had been watered down, the fact remains that subsequent political events and activities of PLA and PLA Air Force (PLAAF) had been anything but benign.

He has accused China of using talks as a ruse to add military infrastructure. Satellite pictures the past fortnight have shown a heavy-duty bridge being built by the Chinese on Pangong Tso, the lake where the 2020 face-off between the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Indian Army took place, he noted.

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