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China questions India’s move to build new road in Ladakh

China has questioned India’s move to build a road near Pangong lake in Ladakh, saying the move reflected a perceived contradiction in New Delhi’s position on constructing structures near the LAC.

world Updated: Aug 24, 2017 22:41 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Doklam standoff,India-China relations,Pangong lake in Ladakh
File photo from June 2016 showing Pangong lake in Ladahak region. Indian and Chinese soldiers clashed near Pangong Lake on August 15, 2017. China has questioned India’s decision to build a road near the lake. (AP)

China on Thursday questioned India’s move to build a new road near Pangong lake in Ladakh sector, saying it had “slapped its own face” by allowing such a project along the border that is yet to be demarcated.

The foreign ministry said the new road project sanctioned by India near Pangong lake, where border troops of the two countries clashed last week, was not conducive to maintaining “peace and tranquillity” along the border.

Reacting to a report on the project in Hindustan Times earlier this week, the foreign ministry contended the move revealed a contradiction in India’s stand on construction of structures along the border.

The Hindustan Times report had said the of home ministry has “approved the construction of a standalone road project from Marsimik La to Hot Spring”. Marsimik La in Ladakh is about 20 km from the northwestern tip of Pangong lake. The Border Road Organisation (BRO) has taken over the project after it was cleared by the home ministry.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying reacted strongly when Chinese state media cited the report and sought a reaction at the regular news briefing on Thursday.

“It seems according to reports the Indian side is slapping its own face. The Indian side is closely following China’s road-building recently but India’s actions themselves have proven that the Indian side says something and does another,” Hua said.

“Its (India’s) words are in complete contradiction to its deeds in terms of border issues,” she added. “The western section of the India-China boundary has not been delimited. The two sides have agreed to uphold border areas’ peace and tranquillity before disputes are settled. The current road construction by the Indian side is not conducive to peace and stability in that area and will not help with settlement of the current situation.”

Hua was referring to the intervention in June by Indian troops to block the construction of a road by Chinese troops in Donglang or Doklam near the Sikkim border. New Delhi said the road would alter the status quo and have serious security implications.

China has repeatedly blamed India for “trespass” in the Doklam area and for triggering the two-month military standoff. Dokalm is under China’s control but claimed by Bhutan.

Beijing has also blamed New Delhi for the skirmish near Pangong lake on August 15, saying Indian troops triggered the scuffle in which Chinese soldiers were injured.

The foreign ministry had said on Monday that China has lodged “serious concerns” over the incident which occurred along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). “According to our information, on August 15, the Chinese border troops conducted normal patrol on the Chinese side of the LAC around Pangong area," Hua said on Monday.

“During this process, the Indian side took some violent actions and injured the Chinese border personnel. This has violated the consensus between the Indian and Chinese side in relation to the border issues,” she had added.

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 14:36 IST