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China's bridge over Ladakh lake Is 'illegal occupation', says India

The Chinese bridge across the disputed territory of Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh is being built in an illegally held area, the Indian government told Parliament on Friday

Feb 05, 2022
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China's bridge over Ladakh lake Is 'illegal occupation' (Photo: Rediff)

The Chinese bridge across the disputed territory of Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh is being built in an illegally held area, the Indian government told Parliament on Friday. The bridge, which is eight metres wide, lies just south of a Chinese PLA field base on the north bank of Pangong where Chinese field hospitals and troop accommodations were seen during the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in 2020.

"The Government has taken note of a bridge being constructed by China on Pangong lake. This bridge is being constructed in areas that have continued to be under the illegal occupation of China since 1962," the Indian government told Parliament in a written response.

"Government of India has never accepted this illegal occupation. Government has made it clear on several occasions that the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of India and we expect other countries to respect India's sovereignty and territorial integrity," it added.

Since 2020 - and particularly after the violent face-off in the Galwan river area in which 20 Indian and almost double the number of Chinese soldiers were killed  - more than 50,000 troops from both sides have been deployed in Eastern Ladakh, from the Depsang plains to the north to the Demchok area further south.

India has been involved in talks with China over the disengagement process.

"Our approach in these talks has been and will continue to be guided by three key principles, that, (i) both sides should strictly respect and observe the LAC; (ii) neither side should attempt to alter the status quo unilaterally; and (iii) all agreements between the two sides must be fully abided by in their entirety," the government said.

The last round of talks between the senior commanders of India and China was held on January 12. They agreed that both sides would work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest, restoring peace along the Line of Actual Control.

On reports of China renaming places in Arunachal Pradesh, a northeastern Indian state whose sovereignty is again disputed by China which calls it "South Tibet", the government reiterated that the state was an integral part of India.

"Government has noted reports of renaming of some places by China in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. This is a futile exercise that will not alter the fact that Arunachal Pradesh has always been, is and will always be an integral part of India," it said.

(SAM)

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