China continues ‘incremental and tactical actions’ to press territorial claims with India, says Pentagon

The Pentagon regularly reports to the Congress on the Indo-Chinese military standoff in eastern Ladakh

China continues ‘incremental and tactical actions’ to press territorial claims with India, says Pentagon

Photo for representation purposes. PTI

Washington, November 4

China has continued "taking incremental and tactical actions" to press its claims at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India and has unsuccessfully sought to prevent New Delhi from deepening its relationship with the United States, the Pentagon has said in a report.

"The PRC (People's Republic of China) seeks to prevent border tensions from causing India to partner more closely with the United States. PRC officials have warned US officials not to interfere with the PRC's relationship with India," the Department of Defence told the US Congress on Wednesday.

The Pentagon regularly reports to the Congress on the Indo-Chinese military standoff in eastern Ladakh. The Department of Defence has categorically said China is indulging in aggressive and coercive behaviour with its neighbours, India in particular.

Beginning in May 2020, the Chinese Army launched incursions into customarily Indian-controlled territory across the border and has concentrated troops at several standoff locations along the LAC, the Pentagon said.

As of June 2021, China and India continue to maintain large-scale deployments along the LAC and make preparations to sustain these forces while disengagement negotiations have made limited progress.

In addition, a substantial reserve force from the Tibet and Xinjiang Military Districts was deployed to the interior of Western China to provide a rapid response.

The June 2020 skirmish in Galwan Valley, which led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers, marked the first loss of life on the LAC since 1975.

In February 2021, China's Central Military Commission (CMC) announced posthumous awards for four PLA soldiers, though the total number of Chinese casualties remained unknown, it said.

The Pentagon said despite the ongoing diplomatic and military dialogues to reduce border tensions, China had continued "taking incremental and tactical actions" to press its claims at the LAC.

In 2020, China built a large 100-home civilian village inside disputed territory between the Chinese Tibet Autonomous Region and India's Arunachal Pradesh state in the eastern sector of the LAC.

"These and other infrastructure development efforts along India-China border have been a source of consternation in the Indian government and media," the Pentagon said.

In contrast, China has attempted to blame India for provoking the standoff through India's increased infrastructure development near the LAC.

Asserting that its deployments to the LAC were in response to Indian provocation, Beijing has refused to withdraw forces till India's forces have withdrawn behind the Chinese version of the LAC and ceased infrastructure improvements in the area, the Pentagon said.

As the standoff continues, China has expressed its aim to prevent the standoff from worsening into a wider military conflict, the report said, adding that Beijing has voiced its intent to return bilateral relations with New Delhi to a state of economic and diplomatic cooperation it had perceived to be improving since the 2017 Doklam standoff.

China's state-controlled media forcefully asserted China's intent to refuse any territorial concessions demanded by India.

Chinese officials, through official statements and state media, had also sought unsuccessfully to prevent India from deepening its relationship with the United States during and subsequent to the standoff, while accusing India of being a mere “instrument” of US policy in the region, it said. PTI  

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