India Dismisses China’s Claim On Galwan Valley

After the brutal killing of 20 Indian soldiers and officers who defended the territorial integrity of India on 15 June in the Line of Actual Control on India-China border, China unabashedly harangued its false claims on the Galwan valley in Ladakh, a territory that indisputably belongs to India’s sovereign territorial jurisdiction, contradicting Beijing’s own earlier position in an act of deceit and treachery. China’s unsubstantiated claims have been strongly rebuttal by Government of India. The Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement reiterated India’s well established historical position on the Galwan Valley. New Delhi asserted, “Attempts by the Chinese side to now advance exaggerated and untenable claims with regard to the LAC are not acceptable. They are not in accordance with China’s own position.”

India is not only in physical possession of the area, but also as the name itself suggests, it was named after a local native Ghulam Rasool Galwan during the time of British-India. In spite of clinching proof and evidences, Beijing, has made unnecessary reference to its jurisdiction over the area. But, China’s attempts cannot erase the evidence and proof of history, geography and legality through wanton aggression. In utter disregard to facts, the PLA’s Western Theatre Command issued a statement on June 16 claiming China’s territorial sovereignty over the entire Galwan Valley. This was quickly followed by a June 17 statement from Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson. It was typical Chinese ‘modus vivendi’, i.e., making an issue out of non-issue, and then making virtue out of necessity.

It was against the back drop of China’s double speak that India further said that the brawl of June 15 was the result of “violent actions” by Chinese troops after they were prevented by Indian soldiers from building structures on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control, which is a breach of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) agreed upon by both sides from time to time.  India also mentioned that senior military commanders of the two sides had agreed on June 6 on a process for de-escalation and disengagement along the Line of Actual Control that involved “reciprocations”.

New Delhi observed that both sides had agreed to respect and abide by the LAC and not to undertake any activity to alter the status quo. However, the Chinese side departed from these understandings in respect of the LAC in the Galwan Valley area and sought to erect structures just across the LAC. When this attempt was foiled, the Chinese troops took violent action on June 15, which resulted in casualties.” The Ministry of External Affairs reiterated that Indian troops scrupulously abide by the alignment of the Line of Actual Control in all sectors, including Galwan Valley, and the Indian side has “never undertaken any actions across the LAC”. The Indian forces “have been patrolling” Gulwan Valley for a long time without any incident.

New Delhi further said, “We expect that the Chinese side will sincerely follow the understanding reached between the foreign ministers of both countries to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas, which is so essential for overall development of our bilateral relations.”

The Chinese aggression on India-China border has led to international condemnation of China. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely laid the blame for the border clash at China’s door, calling Beijing, a “rouge” actor. The Amsterdam based European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), a prestigious think-tank in a statement said, “That it was deliberate, pre-planned and barbaric attack and that it clearly violated the protocols of engagement agreed up on by the two sides decades ago and caused the first fatalities on the LAC in close half a century is clear.” EFSAS further observed, “The attack on Indian troops comes on the back of an increasing Chinese assertiveness, be it in the South China Sea, Taiwan or Hong Kong, China has been flexing its muscle across the region.”

Script: Dr. Rupa Narayan Das, Strategic Analyst on Chinese Affairs