China said today it has no information on the missing Indian Air Force Sukhoi fighter jet with two pilots on board and asked India to stick to the arrangements reached between the two sides to maintain peace. “For the situation you mentioned, I have no relevant information to offer at the moment,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters when asked about the missing Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet and whether China would assist India in finding the plane that took off from the Tezpur base in Assam for a routine training sortie nearly 24 hours ago.
The fighter plane has since been untraceable. “We have been following the situation in South Tibet (Arunachal Pradesh) very closely,” he said, apparently referring to reports that the jet was flying over the area before it was reported missing.
At the same time, he referred to the border dispute between India and China, saying that “first of all on the eastern section of the India-China border, China’s position is consistent and clear.” “We hope India can stick to the arrangements reached between the two sides and avoid disrupting peace and stability at the border areas,” Lu said.
China’s curt reaction came amid a growing discord between the two countries on a host of issues, including the recent visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing considers as Southern Tibet. The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control. While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute also covers the ‘Aksai Chin’ area, which was occupied by China during the 1962 war.
Two days ago another spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry said there was “no change” in China’s stand on India’s membership bid into the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG). That statement came ahead of the 48-member elite grouping’s plenary meeting scheduled next month in Bern, Switzerland. China has also repeatedly blocked India’s efforts to impose a UN ban on Pakistan-based JeM leader Masood Azhar.
Last week, India boycotted China’s Belt & Road Forum in Beijing over concerns emanating from a project under the ambitious initiative that runs through Gilgit and Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India opposes the USD 46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and boycotted the event over sovereignty concerns, though 29 heads of state and government attended the BRF.