New Delhi: India has said that China’s “exaggerated and untenable” claim over Galwan valley was a violation of the understanding reached by corps commanders.
The public claim of Galwan valley was made by China’s People’s Liberation Army on June 16 following the violent face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh. The clash led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers as per official figures, and unknown number of casualties on the Chinese side.
In a statement issued late night on Wednesday, India pointed out that external affairs minister S. Jaishankar and state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation to discuss the situation.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava asserted that both sides “agreed that the overall situation should be handled in a responsible manner and that the understandings reached between Senior Commanders on 6th June should be implemented sincerely”.
He then added that declaring Chinese sovereignty over Galwan valley was against the agreement worked out on June 6. “Making exaggerated and untenable claims is contrary to this understanding,” stated Srivastava.
The PLA western theatre command’s claim over Galwan valley had been endorsed by the Chinese foreign ministry, when spokesperson Zhao Lijian read out the entire statement at the daily briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.
Galwan valley had been one of the first points of conflict in the Sino-Indian 1962 war, when an Indian post was overwhelmed by Chinese soldiers. China had always made claims over this region according to a 1962 map.
However, in the following decades till now, Galwan had remained a conflict-free zone, where the Line of Actual Control was assumed by Indian to have been settled, unlike in other sections where there were overlapping claims. The first clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers that marked the start of the current tensions also began in Galwan, where China had poured in soldiers in violation of various border agreements that speak of proper notification of movement of military for exercises near the LAC.