Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe on Sunday blamed India for the ongoing border tension in eastern Ladakh, saying that the responsibility for the LAC standoff does not lie with its country

New Delhi has consistently dismissed Beijing’s allegations of acting provocatively since the standoff began in May 2020 and said that it was the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which trespassed across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and triggered the tension.

India has also maintained that peace and tranquillity along the LAC were key for the overall development of the bilateral ties.

Wei, however, tried to pin the responsibility on India again at the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ 19th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Responding to a question on the ongoing standoff, Wei said, “The merits of the China-India border conflicts are very clear, and the responsibility does not lie with China,” Wei was quoted as saying in response to the state-run tabloid, Global Times.

Wei said that China and India are neighbours, and it is in the interest of both countries to maintain good relations, which is what China is actively striving to do.

Wei, according to the Global Times report, said he had communicated with the Indian defence minister (Rajnath Singh) and made it clear that the responsibility does not lie with China.

“China and India are neighbours, and maintaining a good relationship meets the interests of both countries,” Wei was quoted as saying by PTI.

He said both nations were working together for peace along the LAC.

The two countries didn’t make much headway in the last round of diplomatic talks on May 31, agreeing only to continue discussions on outstanding issues and to convene the next meeting of senior military commanders at an early date.

“The two sides agreed that, as instructed by the two foreign ministers, they “should continue the discussions through diplomatic and military channels to resolve the remaining issues along the LAC at the earliest to create conditions for the restoration of normalcy in bilateral relations”, India’s external affairs ministry said in a statement.

In February, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said that India was having a problem with China along the LAC.

“For 45 years, there was peace, there was stable border management, and there were no military casualties on the border from 1975. That changed because we had agreements with China not to bring military forces to the border (the Line of Actual Control or LAC), and the Chinese violated those agreements,” the minister had said.

“Now, the state of the border will determine the state of the relationship. That’s natural. So obviously, the relations with China right now are going through a very difficult phase,” he added.

Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a tense border standoff in eastern Ladakh for over two years, plunging bilateral ties to their worst chill in decades.

India and China have held 15 rounds of military talks so far to resolve the Ladakh standoff besides several rounds of diplomatic negotiations. Only partial disengagement has been achieved so far.

Both sides continue to deploy thousands of troops on either side of the LAC in sensitive areas.

Last week, China said top US general Charles A Flynn’s comment that he was “alarmed” by the Chinese build-up along the border with India was “disgraceful” and an effort to “add fuel to fire” to the dispute between the two Himalayan neighbours.