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China Says It Does Not Recognise Union Territory of Ladakh 'Illegally Established' by India

Representative image.

Representative image.

India is building a strategic highway near the Chinese border -- the construction site near the hamlet of Chilling in Ladakh is around 250 km west of the area where Indian and Chinese troops are locked in the most serious confrontation in decades.

China on Tuesday said it does not recognise the Union Territory of Ladakh and is against the construction of infrastructure there by India, which has ramped up the activities amid the protracted border standoff.

"China does not recognize the so-called Union Territory of Ladakh illegally established by India, and opposes infrastructure construction in disputed border areas for military control purposes," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in response to India building roads along the border.

India is building a strategic highway near the Chinese border -- the construction site near the hamlet of Chilling in Ladakh is around 250 km west of the area where Indian and Chinese troops are locked in the most serious confrontation in decades.

When ready, the road will provide the only year-round access to large parts of Ladakh, including the border zone. That will go some way to bringing India on par with China, which has a network of roads and helipads on its side of the border.

The 283-km Nimmu-Padam-Darcha (NPD) highway is expected to be completed in three years, officials said. It highlights the efforts by India, which have been redoubled after the latest tensions, to develop key infrastructure – roads, tunnels, bridges and airfields – along the unsettled 3,500 km border with China. The road will link up with an 8.8-km tunnel that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate in coming weeks, opening the snow deserts of Ladakh to the rest of the country all year round.

China voiced its opposition to India undertaking infrastructure development for military purposes in the border areas of Ladakh, and maintained that both countries should avoid any activities that might complicate the situation upsetting the consensus reached between them to ease the situation.

When China first expressed its opposition to India's move to create a separate Union Territory of Ladakh, a day after the state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories on August 5, 2019, the then External Affairs Ministry spokesperson had said India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise.

"We are opposed to conducting infrastructure development for military purposes in the border area. Based on the two sides' consensus no side should engage in the border areas in any activities that might complicate the situation to avoid undermining efforts by the two sides to ease the situation," Wang said.

To another question on reports that China has carried out massive development of border infrastructure, Wang said reports released by some institutions stating that China has built new military bases on its side is completely false. First, some institutions once released the so-called information on new military bases or facilities China has built on its side. Such reports are completely false. They are driven by ulterior motives, he said.

Second, China consistently and strictly abides by the agreements signed with the Indian side. We are committed to maintaining peace and stability along the border with India and at the same time we firmly safeguard our sovereignty, territorial integrity and security, he added. Wang said that for a long time China has been conducting activities on its side of the Line of Actual Control(LAC) and they have always complied with relevant agreements.

"We hope the Indian side to work for the same purpose, together with China to achieve the cooling of temperature on the ground and to prevent adding complex factors to the concerted efforts by the two sides to ease the situation, he said. India and China are locked in a nearly five-month-long border standoff in eastern Ladakh.

There are two main highways that connect Ladakh to the rest of India, but they are closed for at least four months every winter. The only way urgent supplies are sent to Ladakh during these months is by air.

With thousands of its troops amassed at the border and no sign of a drawdown, India is now pushing harder to blast and smash its way through the Himalayas.


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