China today responded cautiously to the transgression by its troops in Uttarakhand, saying it needs to verify the “authenticity of the report” about incursion and asserted that PLA soldiers have always abided by agreements to maintain peace and stability along the border.
“We still need to verify the authenticity of the report you mentioned,” Chinese Defence Spokesman Senior Colonel Yang Yujun told a media briefing here today when asked about incursion by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops in Uttarakhand.
“I would like to emphasis here that Chinese border defence troops always abided by relevant agreements signed between the two countries,” he said.
The Chinese troops “always conducted activities on the Chinese side of Line of Actual Control. We are committed to maintaining peace and stability along the China-India border,” Yang said.
Chinese troops transgressed the border on land and by air in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand earlier this month when its men stationed themselves in a dimilitarised zone and its helicopters flew in the Indian air space for over five minutes.
The incident took place on July 19 in Barahoti area, prompting the security establishment to review the security along the 350 kilometres border with Tibet in this area.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has termed the development as “something to worry about”.
Responding to another question on the Indian army beefing up security along the border in Ladakh with reported deployment of tanks to match the development on the Chinese side, Yang said, “We have taken note of the relevant report”.
“I would like to emphasise that China and India are neighbours, partners not competitors or enemies,” he said.
“It is the common aspiration of the Chinese and Indian people to maintain peace, stability along the border. We hope that Indian side can work in the same direction as the Chinese side and implement the consensus reached between the leaders of the two countries and maintain peace tranquility along the China-India border,” he said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, in his reaction to the Indian army deployment in Ladakh last week, had said, “the two countries should abide by relevant agreements and consensus, work in concert to maintain peace and tranquility of the border area and create a favourable environment for improving bilateral mutual trust and bolster the proper settlement of the boundary question.”
However, at that time, an article in the state-run Global Times had said the tank deployment by India may upset flow of Chinese investments into India and had called for joint efforts to clear misunderstandings.