The Chinese government said China and India are “wise” enough to solve their boundary disputes, delivering a not-so-subtle rebuke to the United States following a new Pentagon report that has rankled Beijing.
- The annual U.S. defence report to Congress on China’s security noted among other developments a beefing up of China’s posture along the border with India, stating that tensions remained along the Line of Actual Control.
- Abraham Denmark, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for East Asia, said that the US had “noticed an increase in capability and force posture by the Chinese military in areas close to the border with India”.
- China said it hoped ‘countries outside the region’ played ‘a constructive role’ and ‘respect efforts by China and India’ to solve their issues, ‘not the opposite’.
- “China is committed to upholding stability and tranquility along the India-China border and is committed to resolving the boundary question with India through negotiations,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said.
- “China and India are fully wise and capable of solving this problem. We hope countries outside the region will respect efforts by China and India and make a constructive role, not the opposite,” added Hong.
- India and China have played down recent incidents of transgressions along the LAC, attributing them to an undemarcated line and differing perceptions. In April, an agreement on a long-discussed military hotline was finally sealed when Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar visited Beijing.
- At the same time, both sides have moved to step up infrastructure in border areas, with India now looking to catch up after China has put in place a vast network of roads and railways on the Tibetan plateau.
China has been infuriated by the annual Pentagon report, which this year has also detailed the bolstering of Chinese military capabilities in the disputed South China Sea. The report said China had reclaimed 3,200 acres of land on new islands and was now moving to weaponise them.
This drew a sharp response from the Chinese Defence Ministry, which said that the US had “deliberately distorted” China’s defence policies and that it was the party that was “flexing military muscles by frequently sending aircraft and warships to the region”. The report had “severely damaged mutual trust between the two sides”.
Now what will the repercussion from the US is yet to come.
By – Nikita Goel