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    China's attempt to advance exaggerated and untenable, says India's Foreign Ministry

    China's attempt to advance exaggerated and untenable, says India's Foreign Ministry

    China's attempt to advance exaggerated and untenable, says India's Foreign Ministry
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    By Parikshit Luthra   IST (Published)

    India's foreign ministry on Saturday firmly rejected China's claims over Galwan valley. Ever since the violent clash on 15th June, China has been claiming sovereignty over Galwan region. On Friday, the Chinese Foreign office once again reiterated their claim. "The Galwan Valley is located on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control in the west section of the China-India boundary. For many years, the Chinese border troops have been patrolling and on duty in this region", said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian.
    India's Ministry of External Affairs has now released a step by step account of the events leading up to the clash on 15th June. However, the exact circumstances of the clash are still unknown. "The Chinese side departed from these understandings in respect of the LAC in the Galwan Valley area and sought to erect structures just across the LAC. When this attempt was foiled, Chinese troops took violent actions on 15 June 2020 that directly resulted in casualties", said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.
    India has also accused China of attempting transgressions in different areas across the LAC in May. Both sides had agreed to disengage and de-escalate after an understanding was reached on June 6 between Corps Commanders.
    Little is known about what happened between June 6 and June 15. What is known is that Indian troops led by Commanding Officer Santosh Babu went to speak to Chinese personnel to clear the air over the disengagement.
    Galwan valley, was the area which witnessed the worst clash between India and China since 1975. Twenty Indian soldiers died in the clash and 10 others were captured.
    Galwan was never a point of dispute in India-China ties, but India's move to build a bridge over the Galwan nallah, connecting the strategically important Shyok-DBO road leading up to Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip got the Chinese worried. The bridge is approximately 7 kilometre from the LAC. China has been objecting to this bridge since May 5, when the first clash took place at Pangong Tso.
    China which has heavily invested in building border infrastructure, doesn't want India to catch up. India's former foreign secretary Nirupama Rao recently remarked that China doesn't want India to be seen as its peer.
    "It is not going to be easy to get China to move out of the areas they are in now along the border zones. China’s pattern of behavior is to occupy territory and it takes years to get them to move. We have to analyse why China is acting the way it is", Rao said. She added that India is dealing with a very muscular and assertive China completely intent on enforcing it's territorial claims.
    Statements from China's foreign ministry show a clear attempt to change the narrative and claim historical rights over Galwan.
    China has now accused India of building bridges and roads in Galwan since April, and unilaterally changing the status quo.
    "By the early morning of May 6, the Indian border troops, who have crossed the LAC by night and trespassed into China's territory, have built fortification and barricades, which impeded the patrol of Chinese border troops They deliberately made provocations in an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo of control and management," said the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson.
    "Shockingly, on the evening of June 15, India's front-line troops, in violation of the agreement reached at the commander-level meeting, once again crossed the Line of Actual Control for deliberate provocation when the situation in the Galwan Valley was already easing, and even violently attacked the Chinese officers and soldiers who went there for negotiation, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties",
    What is also important is that China for the first time is admitting that there were casualties in the incident, though it remains ambiguous about any casualty on its own side.
    Experts argue that it is going to be difficult to get China to move back troops from the positions that they may have taken along the LAC.
    "In Pangong Tso it looks difficult. But in the other places they have not really come across the LAC", said Manoj Joshi, a senior strategic affairs expert at the Observer Research Foundation.
    Lieutenant General Rameshwar Roy, the former head of the Nagrota based 16 Corps said it is going to be very difficult for India to get the Chinese troops to move back and India must now safeguard its positions at all costs.
    "These Chinese PLA people in Galwan Valley are here to stay and they will make sure that we are not able to carry out any activity on the DBO road and that is the ground implication which is very dangerous for all times to come for future generation," Roy said.
    As the Prime Minister tries to calm tempers by saying that no one intruded into Indian territory and Indian soldiers responded befittingly, there are intense diplomatic talks underway. Subrahmaniyam Jaishankar in his phone call with his counterpart Wang Yi has rejected China's attempts to misrepresent the disengagement understanding reached on 6th June. "The two sides are in regular touch and early meetings of military and diplomatic mechanisms are currently being discussed", said the Ministry of External Affairs.
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