China blames India for latest skirmish in disputed border region
Beijing ‘extremely dissatisfied’ after Indian troops ‘obstructed normal patrols’, foreign ministry says
India was to blame for last week’s scuffle in a disputed border region in the western Himalayas that resulted in Chinese and Indian troops hurling rocks at one another, Beijing said on Monday.
Giving the first official account of the incident, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that India had worsened the conflict in the area.
“China is extremely dissatisfied with this” and had lodged solemn representations, Hua said in her daily press briefing.
New Delhi said earlier that Indian troops foiled a bid last Tuesday by Chinese troops to enter its territory in Ladakh, near Pangong Lake.
According to a report by Indian officials, Chinese soldiers hurled stones at Indian troops in a confrontation that lasted about 30 minutes.
Hua, however, said that Chinese border forces had been conducting “normal patrols” on the Chinese side of the actual line of control at Pangong Lake.
The troops were “obstructed” by Indian forces, she said, adding that the clash led to several Chinese personnel being injured.
The two countries have been embroiled in a stand-off in the remote Doklam area – at the three-way junction of Bhutan, China’s Tibet and India’s Sikkim – since the middle of June. The row started when Indian troops intervened in a road-building project by Chinese troops on the Himalayan plateau.
On Monday, Indian home minister Rajnath Singh said a resolution of the dispute was close, as India wanted “peace, not any confrontation”.
“There will be a solution to the Doklam issue very soon,” The Times of India quoted him as saying at an event organised by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.
But he added that India’s soldiers would “never be cowed”.
As the dispute continues to simmer, leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are next month expected to attend a BRICS group summit in the Chinese city of Xiamen.