China lodges protest over CDS Rawat calling it India’s biggest security threat
China on Thursday accused India’s chief of defence staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat of instigating a “geopolitical confrontation” and violating strategic guidelines after he said China is India’s biggest security threat earlier this month.
The Chinese defence ministry called the remarks “irresponsible” and “dangerous”, and said it had “made solemn representations” against Rawat’s comments to the Indian establishment.
China is the biggest security threat facing India, “much bigger” than Pakistan, Rawat had said at a summit earlier this month, adding, however, that India is prepared to deal with “any misadventure” on the “land borders or the high seas”.
In response to a question whether China was India’s number one enemy, Rawat said “no doubt” and added: “The threat on the northern borders is much bigger.”
A lack of “trust” and growing “suspicion” is coming in the way of resolving the border dispute between the nuclear-armed neighbours, Bipin Rawat added in context of the ongoing Sino-India military friction in eastern Ladakh.
The Chinese defence ministry reacted strongly to Rawat’s remarks at the monthly press conference in Beijing on Thursday.
“The unprovoked hype of the so-called ‘Chinese military threat’ by Indian officials seriously violates the strategic guidelines of the leaders of the two countries on the ‘not a threat to each other’,” ministry spokesperson, Colonel Wu Qian said, responding to a question at a press conference on Thursday.
“It is irresponsible and dangerous to instigate geopolitical confrontation. We expressed firm opposition to this and made solemn representations to the Indian side,” Wu added.
“China’s position on the China-India boundary issue is clear and unambiguous: The Chinese border troops are determined to safeguard national sovereignty and security. At the same time, they are committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border area and make great efforts to ease and cool down the situation,” Wu said.
“As a neighbouring country, we hope that India and China will meet each other halfway, jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border area, and jointly maintain the sound development of bilateral relations,” the spokesperson said.
Indian and Chinese militaries have been locked in a border standoff in eastern Ladakh since May, 2020, when a violent clash in Pangong lake area led to both sides gradually deploying tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry along the border.
Several rounds of military and diplomatic talks have only resulted in partial disengagement of troops until now.
In October, China accused India of “unreasonable and unrealistic demands” in an unusually aggressive statement issued at the end of the 13th round of military talks held to resolve the dragging standoff in the Ladakh area.
India has repeatedly and consistently rejected China’s allegations that Indian troops crossed over to the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, asserting that New Delhi has always taken a responsible approach towards border management and maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
Russia, India, China foreign ministers to meet
The foreign ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC) will hold their annual meeting via video link on Friday, the Chinese foreign ministry announced on Thursday.
Friday’s meeting will be the 18th round of talks between the three countries under the RIC mechanism.
Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi will attend the RIC foriegn ministers meeting via video link on November 26, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian announced on Thursday.
Wang will join Indian external affairs minister S Jaishankar and Russia foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov in the meeting.
Under the RIC framework, the foreign ministers of the three countries meet periodically to discuss bilateral, regional and international issues of their interest. “During the upcoming meeting, China expects to boost communications, strengthen mutual trust and reach a consensus with Russia and India, sending a positive signal to the world,” Zhao said.