NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday said the Chinese side resorted to aggression on Monday at the south bank of the Pangong Tso along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) even as commander-level talks were on to resolve the fresh face-off.
“On August 31, even as the ground commanders of the two sides were in discussions to de-escalate the situation, the Chinese troops again engaged in provocative action. Due to the timely defensive action, the Indian side was able to prevent these attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
Amid fresh tensions, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a meeting with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and the Army top brass.
The meeting chaired by Singh went for about two hours. Jaishankar, Doval, Chief of Defence Staff Genral Bipin Rawat and Army Chief M M Naravane participated.
The Director General Military Operations, the operations head of the Army, too, attended the meeting, according to an officer.
“The meeting was held to analyse the current situation and discuss the future course of all military and diplomatic options,” he said.
India has consolidated its position by occupying the heights on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso. “It was a preemptive move after we observed Chinese movement towards the area accompanied with the heavy machinery to create infrastructure,” sources said.
The second brigade commander-level meeting in as many days on Tuesday was inconclusive with China accusing India of entering Chinese territory, an allegation the Indian side rejected.
Meanwhile, Chinese Embassy spokesperson Ji Rong accused India of flagrant provocations on August 31.
“India’s move has grossly violated China’s territorial sovereignty, seriously violated relevant agreements, protocols and important consensus reached between the two countries, and severely damaged peace and tranquillity along the China-India border areas."
Similar accusations of trespassing the LAC were made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying while Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is on a trip to Europe, said that the problem has arisen as the two countries do not have a clearly demarcated border.
Appropriate defensive measures taken: MEA
In response to provocative military maneuvers by China in the late night of August 29 and 30, “the Indian side took appropriate defensive measures along the LAC in order to safeguard our interests and defend the territorial integrity,” MEA spokesperson Srivastava said.