China said on Thursday it is verifying the authenticity of reports that its troops had transgressed into Indian territory across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Uttarakhand even as it called on New Delhi to cooperate in maintaining peace along the frontier.
The defence ministry, responding warily to the latest allegations of border incursions, said soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) always followed rules and focussed on maintaining peace and stability along the disputed border.
“We still need to verify the authenticity of the report you mentioned,” defence spokesman Senior Colonel Yang Yujun told a media briefing here when he was asked about the reported incursion by PLA troops in Uttarakhand.
“I would like to emphasis here that Chinese border defence troops always abided by relevant agreements signed between the two countries,” he said.
Yang also said the Chinese government had taken note of reports on the deployment on Indian troops in Ladakh.
“I want to stress that China and India are neighbours and friends, not enemies or rivals. It's the common wish of people from both nations to maintain a peaceful Sino-India border environment,” he said.
“We hope the Indian government could cooperate with China to implement the consensus of our leaders on the border issue and preserve the peaceful condition of the border area.”
According to reports from India, Chinese troops transgressed the border by land and air in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand earlier this month. The troops stationed themselves in a “dimilitarised zone” and Chinese helicopters flew in Indian airspace for more than five minutes.
The incident reportedly occurred in Barahoti area on July 19, prompting the security establishment to review security along the 350-km border with Tibet. Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat described the development as “something to worry about”.
Yang said Chinese soldiers have followed bilateral treaties focussing on maintaining peace at the border and stayed on the Chinese side of the frontier.
“What I would like to underline is that the Chinese frontier guards have been strictly following the related bilateral treaties and agreements, conducting patrolling at the Chinese side of Sino-India border and devoted to maintain the peaceful environment of the border area,” he said.
Indian and Chinese troops have engaged in tense standoffs following several transgressions along the LAC in recent years.