India reacts to Pentagon’s China report: ‘Don’t accept illegal Chinese occupation’

Taking note of the Pentagon report on China’s “incremental and tactical actions to press its claims” at the LAC with India, the Indian government on Thursday said that Beijing has undertaken construction activities in the past several years along the border areas and India has not accepted “such illegal occupation” of Indian territory and the “unjustified Chinese claims”.

The Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi was responding to questions on the Pentagon Report at the weekly briefing, and said, “We have taken note of the US Department of Defence’ report to US Congress which inter-alia also makes a reference to construction activities by Chinese side along the India-China border areas particularly in the Eastern Sector”.

He said, “China has undertaken construction activities in the past several years along the border areas including in the areas that it has illegally occupied over the decades. India has neither accepted such illegal occupation of our territory nor has it accepted the unjustified Chinese claims.”

He said that the government has “always conveyed its strong protest to such activities through diplomatic means and will continue to do so in the future”.

Further, he said that the Government has also stepped up border infrastructure including the construction of roads, bridges etc, which has provided much needed connectivity to the local population along the border.

“The Government remains committed to the objective of creating infrastructure along the border areas for the improvement of livelihood of its citizens, including in Arunachal Pradesh. Government keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India’s security and takes all the necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the MEA spokesperson said.

Last week, while noting that negotiations between Beijing and New Delhi are progressing “slowly” to resolve the 18-month military standoff along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, the Biden administration has said China has been taking “incremental and tactical actions to press its claims” at the LAC with India.

In its annual report released November 3, the Department of Defense has underlined that China’s military has likely gained real-world operational and tactical experience during the standoff. It also said that “sometime in 2020”, China built a “large 100-home civilian village inside disputed territory” between the Tibet Autonomous Region and Arunachal Pradesh.

“These and other infrastructure development efforts” along the India-China boundary “have been a source of consternation in the Indian government and media,” the report stated.

At the “height” of the standoff, the PLA “installed a fibre optic network in remote areas of the western Himalayas to provide faster communications and increased protection from foreign interception” and the PLA “field commanders view near-real-time ISR and situational data as well as redundant and reliable communications as essential to streamlining decision making processes and shortening response timelines”. ISR is intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance carried out by forces against enemies and potential threats.

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