India vows ‘no compromise’ in war of words with China as border dispute erupts again

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Officials in Beijing warned their counterparts in New Delhi not to underestimate China’s determination to protect its territory and insisted they would not make compromises along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

There will be no compromise in our sovereignty and territorial integrity

Harsh Shringla

But India today responded with a warning of its own with Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla declaring the country remains firmly committed to preserving its “territorial integrity and sovereignty”.

Addressing an Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA) webinar, Mr Shringla said: “As far as we are concerned, there will be no compromise in our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“At the same time, as a responsible nation, we are always willing to talk. Our communication lines are open.”

He described the stand-off along the LAC at Ladakh in the remote western Himalayas as “unprecedented”.

Mr Shringla said: “This is one of the most serious challenges we have faced in many decades.

“Also, I think if you look at the fact that we have not lost any lives on the border in the last 40 years, we have not seen this magnitude of amassing of forces on the border also in recent years, is something that we have to take stock of.”

Brutal hand-to-hand fighting between troops from both sides left 20 Indian soldiers dead in June sparking a de-escalation and the mutual withdrawal of personnel and equipment from the disputed zone.

Both sides have since accused the other of breaking the terms of an agreement struck in the angry aftermath of the deadly mountain clashes and last weekend saw further cross-border raids.

China’s state-run Global Times newspaper accused India of trying push across the disputed border while Beijing was distracted by pressure from the US and long-running tensions in the South China Sea and Taiwan Straits.

An editorial in the ultra-nationalist paper said: “India’s military activities have become increasingly aggressive in recent days, and border tensions see no sign of de-escalating.

“The Indian Army has changed its posture from border management to securing the border on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) added a military deployment in the region.

“India also deployed additional specialised forces such as the Special Frontier Force, and the Indian media said its soldiers have occupied key peaks on the southern bank of Pangong Lake.

“These high-profile activities showed that the Indian military and its government leaders are extremely sure of themselves and China must prepare for long-term tensions on the border.

“But if Indian troops invade Chinese territory and attack Chinese troops, no matter what kind of pressure China is facing to the east, India will surely pay a heavy price.

“China will never compromise and India’s miscalculations will endanger its frontline troops.”

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Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, said: “Chinese military forces, whether the army or air force, in the region are well-trained and their weapons have technological advantages over India’s.

“They are fully capable of cracking down against any Indian provocation at anytime if Indian troops invade.”

India and China fought a war in 1962 over disputed territory and have been unable to agree a permanent border along the 2,000-mile frontier ever since.

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