NEW DELHI: A day after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated 44 new strategic bridges in a go, including eight in Ladakh, China on Tuesday upped the ante saying that it does not recognise the Union Territory of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh and that New Delhi’s attempt to ramp up infrastructure in these areas was the root cause of problems between the two countries.
However, a joint statement released after the 7th round of Core Commander-level talks said both sides had agreed to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution to ensure early disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh. “First I want to make it clear that China does not recognise the Ladakh Union Territory illegally set up by the Indian side and the Arunachal Pradesh.
We stand against the development of infrastructure facilities aimed at military contention along the border area,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said. The Chinese foreign ministry also urged the Indian side to earnestly implement consensus and refrain from actions that might escalate the situation while also taking concrete measure to safeguard peace and tranquility along the border.
Tensions between the two countries have been on the rise since the violent face-off on June 15 at Galwan Valley and complete disengagement of troops has not possible so far despite several rounds of talks at military and diplomatic levels. The joint statement issued after the over 11-hour-long discussions between the military commanders of India and China stated that the talks were positive, constructive and had enhanced understanding of each other’s positions.
“Both sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels, and arrive at a mutually acceptable solution for disengagement as early as possible. Both sides agreed to earnestly implement the important understandings reached by the leaders of the two countries, not to turn differences into disputes, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas,” the statement read. On Monday, while inaugurating the bridges Singh had said that the disputes along the China and Pakistan borders were being whipped up under a mission.
These bridges and Nechiphu Tunnel in Arunachal provide connectivity to remote areas. The 44 bridges of various spans are located in J&K (10), Ladakh (8), Himachal Pradesh (2), Punjab (4), Uttarakhand (8), Arunachal Pradesh (8) and Sikkim (4).