China’s military on Thursday said the boundary dispute with India is a ‘legacy issue’ and it is ‘unwise’ to link the border issue with the overall relations as it does not represent the whole picture of the bilateral relations.
Chinese Ministry of National Defence spokesperson Senior Colonel Wu Qian made the remarks at a media briefing here in response to a question on External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s reported statement that China violated the bilateral consensus in 2020 and assembled a large number of military forces along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), resulting in the conflict in the Galwan Valley.
The India-China relations remained frozen since May 2020 when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) amassed troops in eastern Ladakh that led to a deadly clash between the two militaries at the Galwan Valley in June 2020, resulting in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese military personnel.
Wu repeated Beijing’s claim that the Galwan Valley lies on the Chinese side of the western sector along the LAC and the relevant incident happened when the Indian side violated the consensus and made unilateral provocations. ‘Therefore, the responsibility entirely lies with the Indian side,’ he said.
India is pressing the PLA to disengage from the Depsand and Demchok areas. While India has maintained that there cannot be restoration of normalcy in its relations with China as long as the state of the borders remains abnormal, China continues to press India to delink the border issue and bilateral relations and work for normalcy.
Wu said in the past three years, China and India have maintained communication and coordination through military and diplomatic channels. The two militaries held 20 rounds of Corps Commanders level meetings and agreed to disengage from four points mainly the Galwan Valley, the Pangong lake, Hot Springs and Jianan Daban (Gogra) contributing to the de-escalating tension along the border, he said.
‘The border dispute,’ Wu said, ‘is a legacy with India but that does not represent the whole picture of the bilateral relations.’ ‘Therefore, it is unwise and inappropriate for the Indian side to link the border issue with the overall relations. It goes against the shared interests of the two countries. ‘We hope the Indian side can work with the Chinese side to enhance strategic mutual trust, properly handle differences and safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas,’ he said.
When asked about the next Corps Commander Level Meeting, Wu said the ministry will release the information in due course.