The government on Friday, told the parliament that the Chinese Bridge across the Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh is being built in an illegally held area. It further added added that it expects other countries to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
India’s position on the bridge linking the north and south banks of the strategic lake in Ladakh sector was outlined by minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan in a written reply in Lok Sabha.
“The Government has taken note of a bridge being constructed by China on Pangong lake. This bridge is being constructed in areas that have continued to be under the illegal occupation of China since 1962.” the statement said.
High-resolution satellite imagery of the bridge from US space technology company Maxar, which emerged last month, showed the structure is eight metres wide and more than 400 metres long. The imagery also showed that Chinese workers are using a heavy crane to place concrete slabs between pillars before the laying of tarmac.
“Government of India has never accepted this illegal occupation. Government has 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,” it added.
For almost 2 years now, India has been involved with a stand-off with China with more than 50,000 troop deployment by both sides in eastern Ladakh – from the Depsang plains to the north to the Demchok area further south. Situation has been tense especially after the violent face-off in the Galwan river area in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the line of duty.
China’s bridge construction threatens to wreck the status-quo that has reigned since.
India has been involved in talks with China over the disengagement process.
“Our approach in these talks has been and will continue to be guided by three key principles, that, (i) both sides should strictly respect and observe the LAC; (ii) neither side should attempt to alter the status quo unilaterally; and (iii) all agreements between the two sides must be fully abided by in their entirety,” the government said.
The last round of talks between the senior commanders of India and China was held on January 12. They agreed that both sides would work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest, restoring peace along the Line of Actual Control.