The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday said that a second bridge being constructed by China on Pangong lake is in an area that has been under illegal occupation of that country since 1960.
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that India has never accepted such illegal occupation of the territory.
“We have seen reports of a bridge being constructed by China on Pangong Lake alongside its earlier bridge. Both these bridges are in areas that have continued to be under the illegal occupation of China since the 1960s,” Bagchi told PTI.
He also clarified that they have never accepted such illegal occupation of Indian territory, “nor have we accepted the unjustified Chinese claim or such construction activities.”
“We have made it clear on several occasions that the union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of India and we expect other countries to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the spokesperson added.
Bagchi said that in order to ensure that the nation’s security interests are fully protected, the government has stepped up development of border infrastructure especially since 2014, including construction of roads and bridges.
He said, “The government remains committed to the objective of creating infrastructure along the border areas to not only meet India’s strategic and security requirements but also facilitate the economic development of these areas,” PTI reported.
Further noting that the government keeps a constant watch on all developments that have a bearing on India’s security, the MEA spokesperson said the government has taken all necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
On Wednesday, people who are familiar with Chinese construction said China is building a second bridge in an area held by it around the strategically key eastern Ladakh’s Pangong Tso.
The Chinese and Indian troops have engaged in aggressive clashes and face-offs at locations along the Sino-Indian border since the beginning of 5 May 2020, including near the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous Region. Additional clashes also took place at locations in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).