Speaking to CNN-affiliate News18, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said Tuesday a “significant number” of Chinese troops had moved to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries.
“It is true that people of China are on the border. They claim that it is their territory. Our claim is that it is our area. There has been a disagreement over it … India has done what it needs to do,” Singh said during the interview.
“We don’t want any country to bow before us, and we will not bow before any country,” Singh added.
India and China share one of the world’s longest land borders. In 1962, the two countries engaged in a bloody Himalayan border war, and tensions have continued to break out there sporadically in the decades since.
Last month, an aggressive cross-border skirmish between Chinese and Indian forces resulted in minor injuries to troops. The incident has been followed in recent weeks by unconfirmed reports of tensions in the mountainous area, though neither side had publicly acknowledged anything out of the ordinary.
“The two sides can resolve related issues through the established border-related mechanisms and diplomatic channels,” he said.
“Chinese border defense troops have bolstered border control measures and made necessary moves in response to India’s recent, illegal construction of defense facilities across the border into Chinese territory in the Galwan Valley region in May,” the article said.
Line of Actual Control
In 1993, after years of territorial standoffs and negotiations, China and India finally signed an agreement which attempted to mark out a long stretch of border between the two countries.
Former Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said on her official Twitter account that Delhi and Beijing couldn’t even agree on the length of the border between the two countries.
“The India China border is 3,488 kilometers (2,167 miles) long … In the Chinese definition, the India-China border is around 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) long,” she said.
Chinese state media has covered the issue, too.
“There is no line of actual control along the China-India border that both sides recognize,” the Global Times said in an article on May 25.
US voices support for India
On May 29, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo waded into the territorial saga, voicing his concerns over the border dispute on a podcast.
“The Chinese Communist Party — the nature of activities they are undertaking … Even today, increasing forces of China moved up to north of India on the line of actual control there on the Indian border,” Pompeo said. “These are the kind of actions that authoritarian regimes take and they have a real impact.”
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said last month that the US would be willing to mediate or arbitrate border disputes between India and China.
“We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute. Thank you!” he tweeted.
Relations between the US and China have rapidly deteriorated during the coronavirus pandemic and as Beijing attempts to tighten its grip on the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response that it did not need “third party” intervention on its border with India. But US officials have continued to speak out about the situation.
“China is demonstrating once again that it is willing to bully its neighbors rather than resolve conflicts according to international law,” he said in a statement.
“I strongly urge China to respect norms and use diplomacy and existing mechanisms to resolve its border questions with India.”