Beijing, Jun 05, 2020: A day ahead of the Lieutenant General-level dialogue to resolve the bitter Ladakh border standoff between the two countries, China on Friday said that India should not be instigated by the United States or any kind of media hype that may further strain the bilateral ties, Zee reported.
In an article published by the Global Times - the Chinese government mouthpiece – Beijing warned New Delhi that Washington was trying to meddle into the present India-China dispute in order to gain from it. "Washington looks forward to the China-India dispute in order to gain from it. The US supports India every time China and India have conflicts to encourage New Delhi’s confrontation against Beijing and to hype new border disputes,’’ the article said.
It further stated that ’’the US and its allies have established various contact mechanisms with India, making it falsely believe that it is well-supported. But for major powers like China and India, external factors will not substantially affect their relations.’’
However, the article went on to say that China does not want to fall foul of India and wants a peaceful resolution of all disputes. “Good-neighboürly relations have been China’s basic national policy over the past decades, and China firmly adheres to a peaceful resolution of border disputes. We have no reason to make India our enemy,’’ the state-run media house said in the article.
While looking forward to the proposed talks on Saturday, China also hardened its tone and said that "it will not give up any inch of territory. Once India makes a strategic misjudgement and nibbles away at China’s territory, China will never condone it.’’
The Global Times article further stated that “China is bound to make strong countermeasures. We believe India knows very well that China will not be at a disadvantage in any China-India military operations along the border area.”
The reaction from China came a day ahead of Lieutenant General-level dialogue on Saturday in what is likely to be the first major attempt to resolve the month-long bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh even as both militaries maintained their aggressive posturing in the sensitive areas in the high-altitude region.
The Indian delegation at the talks will be led by Lt General Harinder Singh, the general officer commanding of Leh-based 14 Corps, while the Chinese side will be headed by the Commander of the Tibet Military District, official sources said.
The talks are slated to be held around 8 AM in the Border Personnel Meeting Point at Maldo in Chushul sector of Eastern Ladakh. The sources said India was not expecting any concrete outcome from the meeting but considers it important as the high-level military dialogue could pave the way for a negotiated settlement of the tense standoff.
The local commanders of the two sides have already held at least 12 rounds of talks while three rounds of discussions took place between major general-rank officials, but no positive outcome came out from the negotiations, the sources said.
In Saturday’s meeting, the Indian side is expected to press for the restoration of the status quo ante in at least Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley to gradually deescalate the tension and removal of temporary camps erected by China after a violent face-off between the two sides on May 5, they said.
The Indian delegation will also insist on the implementation of the strategic guidelines issued by the two militaries in line with decisions taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in their first informal summit in April 2018 in Wuhan, the sources said.
It is learnt that two sides are also engaged in diplomatic talks to find a solution to the face-off which is turning out to be the most serious military standoff between the two armies after the Doklam episode of 2017. PM Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping held their informal summit in Wuhan months after the Doklam standoff.
After the standoff began in early last month, India decided that its troops will adopt a firm approach in dealing with the aggressive posturing by the Chinese troops in all disputed areas of Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie. The Chinese army is learnt to have deployed around 2,500 troops in Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley besides gradually enhancing temporary infrastructure and weaponry.
The sources said satellite images have captured significant ramping up of defence infrastructure by China on its side of the de-facto border including construction activities at a military airbase around 180 km from the Pangong Tso area. China has also enhanced its presence in certain areas along the Line of Actual Control in Northern Sikkim and Uttarakhand following which India has also been its presence by sending additional troops, they said.
The trigger for the face-off was China’s stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake besides construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley. The road in the Finger area in Pangong Tso is considered crucial for India to carry out patrol. India has already decided not to stall any border infrastructure projects in eastern Ladakh in view of Chinese protests.
Government sources said military reinforcements including troops, vehicles and artillery guns were sent to eastern Ladakh by the Indian Army to shore up its presence in the areas where Chinese soldiers were resorting to aggressive posturing.
The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on the evening of May 5 which spilled over to the next day before the two sides agreed to "disengage". However, the standoff continued.
The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in North Sikkim on May 9. The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam tri-junction in 2017 which even triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long LAC. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it. Both sides have been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.