NEW DELHI: The government on Saturday released a detailed account of face-off with China in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh as it categorically rejected Beijing’s untenable claims regarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and said that it contradicts its earlier stand on the issue.

The Minister of External Affairs claimed that since early May 2020, the Chinese side has been hindering India’s normal, traditional patrolling pattern in the area.

“Since early May 2020, Chinese have been hindering India’s normal patrolling pattern in the area. This resulted in face-off which was addressed by ground commanders. We don’t accept the contention that India was unilaterally changing status quo, we were maintaining it,” the MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

He also added that the “Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the LAC in all sectors of India-China border areas, including the GalwanValley. They abide by it scrupulously here, as they do elsewhere.”

The MEA Spokesperson also categorically rejected China’s claim that India was unilaterally changing the status quo. It may be recalled that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had earlier in the day claimed that Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh is located on the Chinese side of the border, which was rejected by the MEA.

Srivastava went on to say that the Indian side has never undertaken any actions across the LAC. “In fact, they have been patrolling this area for a long time without any incident. All infrastructure built by the Indian side is naturally on its own side of the LAC,” the MEA official said.

Replying to a question on what led to clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops, he said, “Attempts of transgression by the Chinese side were invariably met with an appropriate response from us.” 

He further said that India expects China to “sincerely follow” the agreement between Foreign Ministers of both countries to maintain peace in the region for the overall development of bilateral ties.

“We expect that the Chinese side will sincerely follow the understanding reached between the Foreign Ministers to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas, which is so essential for the overall development of our bilateral relations,” the MEA said.

Here’s the timeline of India-China Face-off in Ladakh

Early May: Chinese side hinders India’s patrolling pattern; Face off happens, commanders meet follows

Mid-May: Chinese side attempted to transgress the LAC in Western Sector; attempt met with an “appropriate response”, says MEA; talks happen

June 6: Senior Commanders meet; de-escalation and disengagement agreed on reciprocal actions

June 15: Chinese troops take violent actions to alter the status quo

June 17: EAM S Jaishankar- China FM Wang Yi speak on phone; EAM asks China to reassess its actions and take corrective steps.

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