Beijing is not responsible for the current border friction with India, the Chinese defence ministry said on Thursday even as it warned New Delhi against teaming up with foreign powers to make a show of its maritime strength.
New Delhi has repeatedly dismissed Beijing’s attempts to blame India for the ongoing border tensions in eastern Ladakh, saying the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) troops were the first to illegally trespass across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in May last year.
The Chinese foreign and defence ministries, however, have continued to blame the Indian Army for crossing the LAC.
“Regarding the situations in the western section of the China-India boundary, China has explained the ins and outs in detail, and the responsibility does not lie with China,” Senior Colonel Wu Qian, Chinese defence ministry spokesperson, said on Thursday.
Wu was responding to a question on a comment made by India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat at the Raisina Dialogue earlier this month, where he said India had stood firm in preventing a change of status quo on the northern borders and New Delhi proved it will not get pushed under any pressure, in context of the border tensions with China.
Wu “rebutted” Rawat’s statement, China’s official military portal reported. “The relevant remarks by the Indian side are completely inconsistent with the facts,” Wu said.
Wu said that because of the joint efforts of China and India, the border defence troops of both sides have recently disengaged from contact in the Galwan Valley and Pangong Lake areas, and the situation in the border area has eased.
Wu added that India will “cherish the hard-won situation” and work with China to safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas.
Wu also warned against “ganging up” against China in context of the “La Pérouse” naval exercise held in the Bay of Bengal in the first week of April.
India and three other members of the Quad – the US, Australia and Japan – took part in the three-day drill led by France.
Wu said China had taken note of the exercise and hopes that countries involved in it would do more things conducive to peace and stability “instead of forming gangs” to show off their military power and to promote regional militarisation.
The La Pérouse, a multilateral joint naval exercise, was a training drill involving five countries in which eight ships took part.
The defence ministry spokesperson’s statement on an exercise held in the Bay of Bengal gives an idea about Beijing’s ambitions about its maritime power and reach.
His comments come days after China launched three large warships on the same day -the Hainan, China’s first Type 075 amphibious assault ship; the Dalian, a large destroyer; and the Changzheng 18, a nuclear-powered strategic ballistic missile submarine.