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China says it does not recognize the “illegally established” UT of Ladakh

In an unprecedented provocation against India, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin has claimed on Tuesday that India had “illegally” established the union territory of Ladakh and opposed infrastructure development on border areas.

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This statement has come amid the ongoing border standoff between India and China along the Line of Action Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. The world’s two biggest armies and nuclear-armed neighbors are standing face-to-face at the point of friction – Pangong Lake. As per the Chinese state mouthpiece Global Times, this statement was made by Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin in the context of India building border roads in the region.

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“China does not recognize the so-called union territory of Ladakh illegally established by India, and opposes infrastructure construction in disputed border areas for military control purposes,” spokesperson Wang said while commenting on India’s move to build roads along the border.

“According to the recent consensus reached between China and India, neither side should take any actions in border areas that would complicate the situation, so as not to affect the efforts of both sides to ease the situation,” Wang added, in comments posted by state-run Global Times on its Twitter handle.

The border tension between India and China began in May and escalated in June to the deadliest violence between the two sides in decades. A clash on a high altitude in Galwan Valley in which soldiers used clubs, stones, and their fists. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed and dozens of others were injured. China is believed to have also suffered casualties which they have also accepted but has not provided any more details. 
Even after several level talks at different levels, proper de-escalation on the ground has not happened. Instead, the two armies have deployed several thousands of their troops along with tanks and artilleries on the border. 

It wasn’t clear on what basis China rejected India’s move last year to reconstitute Ladakh as a union territory separate from Jammu and Kashmir, or why it considered that illegal. However, Defence Experts say that it is just Chinese propaganda to divert the attention from the border standoff and put India on the defensive back foot. 

It was in 2019 also when China has stated that the “unilateral” changes India made to the status of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir by splitting it into two separate union territories were illegal and invalid.

The Chinese remarks came on a day when Indian Air Force Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, said that the prevailing situation along the Line of Actual Control was “uneasy” and a “no war, no peace” status was prevailing along the northern border amid the ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh. By the time of writing this report, no official statement by India has been given about the latest Chinese provocative claims.

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