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Pentagon report: Not accepted China’s illegal occupation, says govt; CDS says no transgression

In its annual report released on November 3, the Department of Defense underlined that China’s military has likely gained real-world operational and tactical experience during the standoff.

Chinese troops dismantling their bunkers at Pangong Tso region, in Ladakh along the India-China border. (File Photo: Indian Army/AP)

Taking note of the Pentagon report on China building a “large 100-home civilian village inside disputed territory” between the Tibet Autonomous Region and Arunachal Pradesh, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said Beijing has undertaken construction activities in the past several years along the border areas and India has not accepted “such illegal occupation” of Indian territory and the “unjustified Chinese claims”.

However, hours later, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said at an event that “these villages which are well within Chinese side of the LAC” and “they have not transgressed anywhere on our perception of the Line of Actual Control”.

Responding to questions at the Times Now summit, Gen Rawat said, “Chinese building villages along the LAC is true. But what I wish to come out with is, Chinese are building villages possibly for billetting and locating their civilians, or for the military in the future, all along the Line of Actual Control, particularly after the recent face offs that we’ve had. But this present controversy that has erupted that Chinese have come across into our territory and have built a new village is not true…”

“These kind of so-called villages which are well within their side of the LAC, they have not transgressed anywhere on our perception of the Line of Actual Control. There are different perceptions. We are very clear where the Line of Actual Control lies because we have been told that this is your alignment of the Line of Actual Control and this is the territory you are expected to defend,” he said.

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Earlier in the day, responding to questions on the Pentagon Report, Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We have taken note of the US Department of Defense’s report to US Congress which inter-alia also makes a reference to construction activities by Chinese side along the India-China border areas, particularly in the Eastern Sector.”

“China has undertaken construction activities in the past several years along the border areas, including in the areas that it has illegally occupied over the decades. India has neither accepted such illegal occupation of our territory nor has it accepted the unjustified Chinese claims,” he said.

He said the government has “always conveyed its strong protest to such activities through diplomatic means and will continue to do so in the future”.

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He said the government has also stepped up border infrastructure, including construction of roads and bridges, which has provided much-needed connectivity to the local population along the border.

“The government remains committed to the objective of creating infrastructure along the border areas for the improvement of livelihood of its citizens, including in Arunachal Pradesh. Government keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India’s security and takes all the necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the MEA spokesperson said.

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Last week, while noting that negotiations between Beijing and New Delhi are progressing “slowly” to resolve the 18-month military standoff along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, the Biden administration said that China has been taking “incremental and tactical actions to press its claims” at the LAC with India.

In its annual report released on November 3, the Department of Defense underlined that China’s military has likely gained real-world operational and tactical experience during the standoff. It also said that “sometime in 2020”, China built a “large 100-home civilian village inside disputed territory between” between the Tibet Autonomous Region and Arunachal Pradesh.

“These and other infrastructure development efforts” along the India-China boundary “have been a source of consternation in the Indian government and media”, the report stated.

First published on: 11-11-2021 at 07:10:57 pm
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