(TibetanReview.net, Feb05’22) – India has reiterated, this time in parliament, on Feb 4 that a bridge being constructed by China across Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh is located in areas under “illegal occupation”. It followed India’s announcement of a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics after China made its army officer responsible for the bloody Jun 15-16, 2020 night clash in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley a torch-bearer for the Games.
“The government has taken note of a bridge being constructed by China on Pangong Lake. This bridge is being constructed in areas that have continued to be under the illegal occupation of China since 1962. The Government of India has never accepted this illegal occupation,” indiatoday.in Feb 5 quoted Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan as saying in parliament.
Asked whether the issue had been raised with China, the minister has said, “The government has made it clear on several occasions that the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of India and we expect other countries to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Citing satellite images, the report said that the under-construction bridge, which measures approximately 315 metres long, connects the southern end of the lake to a newly built road in the north.
China continues to be in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 square km of Indian territory in the Union Territory of Ladakh for the last six decades, the PTI news agency Feb 4 cited the minister as having told Lok Sabha, the Lower House of parliament.
He has also said Pakistan had illegally ceded 5,180 sq km of Indian territory in Shaksgam Valley to China in 1963 from areas illegally occupied by it.
On the continuing eastern Ladakh border standoff, the minister has said India and China had maintained dialogue through both diplomatic and military channels for disengagement in the remaining areas.
“Our approach in these talks has been and will continue to be guided by three key principles, that, (i) both sides should strictly respect and observe the LAC (ii) neither side should attempt to alter the status quo unilaterally; and (iii) all agreements between the two sides must be fully abided by in their entirety,” he has said.
Unfortunately, there is no common perception between the two sides in where the LAC lies since India and China had never been neighbours until the latter occupied and annexed Tibet in the 1950s.
China has continued “taking incremental and tactical actions” to press its claims at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India,” the PTI Feb 5 cited the US Defence Department, or the Pentagon, as saying in a report.