China on Thursday criticised Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane’s comment about the existence of Chinese threat in the region, saying it hopes that Indian officials would “refrain” from making “unconstructive” comments.
The Chinese foreign ministry, however, did not share any information about Wednesday’s 14th round of Sino-India military discussions to resolve the dragging standoff in eastern Ladakh. “We will release information if there is any,” foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said when asked to comment on the talks at Thursday’s briefing.
Asked to comment on the Indian army chief’s statement, Wang said, “China and India are working through diplomatic and military channels to advance the easing of the border tension. We hope individual personnel from India will refrain from making unconstructive comments”.
Naravane on Wednesday said that the Chinese threat in the region had not reduced in any way despite partial disengagement at multiple friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
Naravane was speaking to reporters ahead of Army Day on January 15.
India and China’s decision not to issue official statements a day after the talks concluded is an indication that deep differences exist in implementing the decision to disengage from remaining friction points.
On Tuesday, Wang had said: “Currently the situation on the border areas is stable on the whole and the two sides are in dialogue and communication through diplomatic and military channels. “We hope India will work to help the situation to move from emergency handling to a regular daily based management phase,” Wang added.
The last military talks in October had collapsed following major differences between the two sides.
Both had issued strong statements after the 13th round of talks ended in bitterness.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said India had made “unreasonable” and “unrealistic” demands during the talks.
New Delhi said the Chinese side wasn’t “agreeable” and “…could not provide any forward-looking proposals” at the negotiating table.
Indian and Chinese border troops have been locked in a border standoff in eastern Ladakh since May, 2020, when a violent clash in Pangong lake area led to both sides gradually deploying tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry along the border.
Several rounds of military and diplomatic talks have only resulted in partial disengagement of troops until now.
India has repeatedly and consistently rejected China’s allegations that Indian troops crossed over to the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, asserting that New Delhi has always taken a responsible approach towards border management and maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
Ahead of the Wednesday talks, an editorial in state-run China Daily newspaper warned India not be led “astray” by the US.
The editorial quoted White House press secretary Jen Psaki describing China as a threat to regional security with its “attempt to intimidate its neighbours” and that the US will “…continue to stand with our partners on that”.
“India must not be led astray by such remarks. It should engage in the talks with sincerity and strive to meet China half-way so that they can work together to solve their border disputes,” the editorial said.