China claimed on 16 September that it has been honouring agreements signed with India and is committed to maintaining peace in border areas, a day after defence minister Rajnath Singh said Beijing is not respecting the customary alignment of the boundary.
Singh had told Parliament that China has engaged in massive mobilisation of troops at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), engaged in aggressive behaviour, and sought to unilaterally change the status quo, in contravention of existing border agreements and pacts.
Responding to Singh’s statement, the Chinese foreign ministry again blamed New Delhi for the tensions, saying it is India which has breached agreements made to maintain tranquility along the disputed boundary.
“For the Chinese side, we have been honouring the agreements signed between China and India. We are committed to peace and stability in the border area,” foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said when asked to comment on Singh’s statement.
“We are committed to our sovereignty and territorial integrity. But China is not to blame for the current situation. It is the Indian side that has breached the agreements, first trespassed the territory first and fired shots to threaten the safety of the Chinese border troops first,” Wang said at the regular ministry briefing.
“So, what is imperative is for the Indian side to address these mistakes to follow through the disengagement agreements and take concrete actions to ease up the situation on the ground,” Wang said, repeating Beijing’s stand on the months-long border standoff that’s plunged bilateral ties to the worst level in decades.
India has already dismissed similar allegations made by China earlier, saying the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops were the first to provoke and not ready to disengage.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava clearly spelt out the Indian government’s position on the disengagement process earlier, saying the LAC “must be strictly respected and observed as this is the basis for peace and tranquility in the border areas.”
“During the Moscow meeting the two foreign Ministers reached five point agreements on the border situation,” spokesperson Wang said, referring to the recent meeting between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting of foreign ministers in Moscow.
“We hope India will work with China to follow through on the agreement and also other previously reached agreements and put the border issue at an appropriate position in the bigger picture of China India relations,” he said.
Wang added that China is ready to work with India to remain in dialogue and consultation through diplomatic channels, jointly ensure peace and tranquility of the border areas.