Speaking to CNN-affiliated News18, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday, “a large number” of Chinese troops had moved to the Actual Control Line (LAC) between the two countries.
“It is true that the Chinese are on the border. They claim it is their territory. Our claim is our territory. There is disagreement about that … India has done what needs to be done,” Singh said during the interview.
“We do not want the country to bow before us, and we will not bow down to any country,” Singh added.
India and China share one of the longest land borders in the world. In 1962, the two countries engaged in a bloody Himalayan border war, and tensions have continued to erupt there sporadically in the decades since.
Last month, aggressive cross border battles between Chinese and Indian troops resulted in minor injuries to the troops. This incident has been followed in recent weeks by reports of tensions in the mountainous region which have yet to be confirmed, although neither side has publicly acknowledged anything extraordinary.
On June 1, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference that the situation was at the border “Stable and controlled.”
“Both parties can solve the related problems through the established border mechanism and diplomatic channels,” he said.
Zhao’s comments came a day after the Chinese-run nationalistic tabloid Global Times published an article previewing new military weapons, which could be used to “High altitude conflict,”
like the border of the Himalayas.
“Chinese border defense forces have supported border control measures and made the necessary steps in response to the construction of an illegal Indian defense facility recently crossing the border into Chinese territory in the Galwan Valley region in May,” the article said.
Actual Control Line
In 1993, after years of deadlock and territorial negotiations, China and India finally signed an agreement that sought to mark a long stretch of border between the two countries.
The border is known as the actual control line,
but the exact location can be blurry, and there are still disputes between China and India about where one country ends and the other begins.
Former Indian Foreign Minister Nirupama Rao said on his official Twitter account that Delhi and Beijing could not even agree on the length of the border between the two countries.
“The Indian border of China is 3,488 kilometers (2,167 miles) long … In the Chinese definition, the India-China border is around 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles),” he said.
Chinese state media has also covered this problem.
“There is no actual line of control along the China-India border that is recognized by both parties,” Global Times said in an article on May 25.
The border tension last peaked in 2017 when troops gathered in and around the disputed highland of Doklam, a thin spot. a strip of land at the crossroads between India, China and Bhutan
. Although not part of the Indian region, this area is close to the “chicken neck,” a strategic corridor that functions as a vital artery between Delhi and its northeastern states.
Bhutan accused China of building roads within its territory, which Beijing refused. India then stepped up to support Bhutan’s claim, causing a standoff for months
, which included live shooting exercises by the People’s Liberation Army on the border.
US voices support India
On May 29, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo entered the territorial saga, voicing his concern over border disputes with the podcast.
“The Chinese Communist Party – the nature of the activities they carry out … Even today, an increase in Chinese power is moving north of India on the actual control line on the Indian border,” Pompeo said. “These are the types of actions taken by authoritarian regimes and they have a real impact.”
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said last month that the US would be willing to mediate or mediate border disputes between India and China.
“We have told India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or mediate their current border disputes. Thank you!” he tweeted.
Relations between the US and China have deteriorated rapidly during the coronavirus pandemic and as Beijing seeks to tighten its grip on the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in its response that it did not need “third party” intervention on its border with India. But US officials continue to talk about the situation.
On June 1, Eliot Engel, chair of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that he was “deeply concerned” by the Chinese troop movement along the actual control line.
“China shows 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 existing diplomacy and mechanisms to resolve its border questions with India.”