Ambassador Sun Weidong says China’s traditional customary boundary line is in accordance with the LAC; India says disengagement not complete. Since May, Chinese and Indian troops have been in a standoff

India-China LAC: In a recent statement issued by Sun Weidong, Beijing’s ambassador to New Delhi, he said that “China’s traditional customary boundary line is in accordance with the LAC” on the lake’s northern bank. The statement has pushed back the country’s claim to Pangong Tso where Chinese troops had entered 8 km west of point, which India believes as the Line of Actual Control. According to a report, Weidong rejected the suggestion that China has expanded its territorial claim at Pangong Tso. His remarks came ahead of the fifth round of talks to be held between Corps Commanders of the two armies.

Weidong’s statement has been made at a webinar organised by the Institute of Chinese Studies, where he claimed that China has not expanded its territorial claim. “China hopes that the Indian troops will strictly abide by the relevant bilateral agreements and protocols between the two countries and refrain from illegally crossing the LAC to the Chinese side,” the report quoted Weidong as saying. As per Weidong, with joint efforts, armies at both sides of the LAC are de-escalating in most localities.

To this, New Delhi responded that while there has been some progress regarding the disengagement process, however, the process is yet to be completed. Citing Anurag Srivastava, official spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, the report highlighted that the senior commander of the two forces along the LAC will be meeting soon to work out the process. With the idea of maintenance of tranquillity and peace in the border areas, Srivastava is expecting the Chinese side to work sincerely with India for complete disengagement and de-escalation of troops at the earliest.

It is to note that China has been reluctant in stepping back from Pangong Tso, where its troops have occupied the ridgeline at Finger 4, eventually leading to stalling of the disengagement process. The report said that this is expected to be the focus of talks during the fifth meeting between the Corps Commanders. Since May, Chinese and Indian troops have been in a standoff.

Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador during his speech, mentioned that the country is not “a strategic threat to India”, and cautioned Indian officials against “forced decoupling” of the relationship which he believes may lead to an outcome which is a loss for both the countries. Further, commenting on Chinese troops crossing the LAC in the Galwan Valley, he said that the right and wrong is “very clear,” adding that “responsibility is not on the Chinese side”. He claimed that Indian troops have been making roads and bridges along the Galwan Valley which led to representations from the Chinese side via military and diplomatic channels.