New Delhi has no plans to slam the brakes on infrastructure development and building up of military capacity along the disputed border with China, defence minister AK Antony said on Saturday.
Six days after the territorial standoff with the Communist neighbor in eastern Ladakh ended, the minister said India had the right to develop infrastructure “on its soil” just the way China was entitled to ramp up capacities on its land.
“The army and air force have increased capacities on our land in recent years. That will continue,” said Antony, soon after he commissioned the navy’s first MiG-29K squadron here.
He said India was negotiating a new border framework with Beijing as a step towards resolving the niggling territorial dispute that has plagued bilateral ties.
Asked if the army had demolished a bunker in southeast Ladakh’s Chumar area to end the three-week standoff in the windswept Depsang flats, Antony refused to divulge details saying that both sides had restored status quo that prevailed before the April 15 incursion.
The Indian Army and the Chinese PLA simultaneously pulled out of the faceoff site on May 5.
Indian soldiers were eyeball-to-eyeball with Chinese troops in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector for three weeks starting April 15, after Chinese troops set up tents and took up positions 19 km into Indian side of line of actual control (LAC).
Both sides have returned to pre-April 15 positions.
China has repeatedly asked the Indian Army to stop infrastructure build-up and construction of bunkers in Fukche and Chumar areas of Ladakh.
It has also articulated concerns about infrastructure build up, including reactivation of advance landing grounds, in the DBO sector in the north and Nyoma in the east during the last four to five years.
The Chinese contention is that some of the build-ups along the LAC are in violation of protocols governing borders that had not been mutually delineated.