NEW DELHI: India blasted China on Thursday, accusing the Chinese side of building a bridge over Lake Pangong in an area it has illegally occupied for 60 years and describing the tone of a letter sent by a Chinese official to lawmakers and lawmakers. ministers who attended a Tibet meeting as unacceptable.
The Foreign Ministry also reiterated its rejection of China’s decision to rename 15 sites in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, saying that instead of engaging in “such antics”, Beijing should work with New Delhi to resolve the sticking points in the Ladakh sector. Real Line of Control (LAC).
Criticism from the Indian side followed prolonged government silence regarding both the construction of the bridge connecting the northern and southern shores of strategic Lake Pangong and the unprecedented action of the Chinese embassy official to write directly to ministers and lawmakers who attended a meeting of the revived Indian All-Party Parliamentary Forum for Tibet.
WATCH: Tibetan government-in-exile criticizes recent letter from China to Indian lawmakers
Both issues were raised by the opposition, which demanded an explanation from the government on China’s actions amid the deadlock over the LAC, which is in its second year. Chinese state media also broadcast New Year’s celebrations by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops in the Galwan Valley, the scene of a brutal clash in June 2020.
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Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said the government was closely monitoring the construction of the bridge over Pangong Lake by the Chinese side. âThis bridge is being built in areas that have been illegally occupied by China for about 60 years now. As you well know, India has never accepted such an illegal occupation â, he declared during a regular press briefing.
The government has taken “all necessary measures to ensure that our security interests are fully protected,” Bagchi said. As part of these efforts over the past seven years, the government has significantly funded the development of border infrastructure and “completed more roads and bridges than ever before,” he said.
These actions have provided much needed connectivity to the local population and logistical support to the armed forces, and the government remains committed to this goal, he said.
Recent satellite images have shown that the Chinese bridge spanning a narrow section of the 134 km lake is nearing completion. Experts believe this will significantly reduce the time it takes for the Chinese side to move troops and equipment from deep bases to forward locations near the LAC.
Referring to the letter written by the political adviser of the Chinese Embassy to Indian deputies and ministers regarding their participation in the Tibet-focused event, Bagchi said, âThe substance, tone and tenor of the letter are inappropriate. The Chinese side should note that India is a vibrant democracy and [the] Deputies, as representatives of the people, undertake activities according to their views and beliefs.
He added, âWe expect the Chinese side to refrain from extolling normal activities by [the] deputies and further complicate the situation in our bilateral relations.
The Tibetan Parliament in Exile and the India Tibet Coordination Office held a dinner reception on December 22 to announce the resumption of the Indian All-Party Parliamentary Forum for Tibet. The meeting brought together Minister of Social Justice Ramdas Athawale, Minister of State for Skills Development Rajeev Chandrasekhar, and nine members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, including Maneka Gandhi, Jairam Ramesh and Manish Tewari.
Subsequently, Chinese Embassy political adviser Zhou Yongsheng sent the letter to lawmakers and ministers expressing his country’s concern about their participation in the meeting.
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âAs everyone knows, the so-called ‘Tibetan government in exile’ is an outright separatist political group and an illegal organization in total violation of the Constitution and laws of China. It is not recognized by any country in the world. Tibet has been an inseparable part of China since ancient times, and affairs related to Tibet are purely internal Chinese affairs which do not allow any foreign interference, âthe letter said in strong terms, adding that lawmakers should s ‘refrain from supporting the forces of “Tibetan independence”. .
Bagchi also referred to the Chinese side which named 15 locations in Arunachal Pradesh last week, and described it as a “ridiculous exercise to support untenable land claims”.
He said, âCalling Tuting as ‘DouDeng’ or the Siyom River as ‘XiYueMu’ or even Kibithu as ‘Daba’ does not change the fact that Arunachal Pradesh has always been and always will be an inalienable part of India. We hope that instead of engaging in such frolics, China will work constructively with us to resolve outstanding points of friction in areas along the LAC Western Sector in the Indo-China border areas. .