A day after a top US Army General had termed China’s infrastructure development along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as “alarming” and “eye-opening”, New Delhi on Thursday said India continuously monitors the situation and has taken several measures to improve infrastructure on its own side as well.
During his weekly media interaction, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the government “carefully monitors developments along our border areas, including construction of infrastructure by the Chinese side in the Western Sector, as well as that being undertaken further in depth areas”.
Bagchi said the government is “committed to, and takes all adequate and appropriate measures to safeguard territorial integrity and sovereignty,” as development in recent years has clearly demonstrated. The government, he said, “has taken various measures to develop infrastructure along the border areas, to not only meet India’s strategic and security requirements but also facilitate economic development of these areas”.
This was in response to questions asked about US Army Pacific Command’s General Charles A Flynn’s comments on Wednesday. Flynn, who is on a three-day visit, had said that the “activity level is eye-opening. I think some of the infrastructure that is being created in the Western Theater Command is alarming.”
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People’s Liberation Army’s Western Theater Command is responsible for the 3488-km long border with India.
Asked about the discussions to resolve the standoff in eastern Ladakh, Bagchi on Thursday said while there is no date yet for the next round of Corps Commander-level talks, at the last Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) ) meeting last week it was decided to hold the 16th round of military discussions on an early date.
“As far as the current situation is concerned, we have maintained continuous communication with the Chinese side, both through diplomatic and military channels,” he said. “There have been 15 rounds of senior commanders’ meetings, 10 rounds of WMCC. We have also had communication at the level of foreign ministers, defense ministers, the NSA and his counterpart.”
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Bagchi said these conversations have “led to some progress”, as both sides have disengaged in several areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh. “We will maintain the dialogue with the Chinese side to resolve the remaining issues. The two sides have also agreed to hold a new round of senior commanders’ meeting, as decided in last week’s WMCC.”
“Our expectation is that in these talks the Chinese side will work with the Indian side to reach a mutually acceptable solution for the remaining issues, given that both sides also agree that the prolongation of the existing situation is not in the interest of either side, or overall relations,” Bagchi said.
India has always maintained that “restoration of normalcy will obviously require restoration of peace and tranquility along the LAC, which had been disturbed by the Chinese action in 2020,” Bagchi stated. However, he said, “at this point” there’s no date for the next round of military talks.