India on Tuesday rejected China's claims on the position of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, and said it has never accepted the so-called unilaterally defined 1959 Line of Actual Control, and that the county's position has been consistent and well known to all including China.
Rebutting reports of a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement regarding China's position on the LAC in Ladakh, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said China's insistence on the location of the LAC is contrary to the commitments made by the country in several bilateral agreements in 1993, 1996 and 2005.
"India has never accepted the so-called unilaterally defined 1959 Line of Actual Control (LAC). This position has been consistent and well known, including to the Chinese side," the MEA spokesperson said.
Srivastava pointed out that under their various bilateral agreements including the 1993 Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the LAC, 1996 Agreement on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the military field, 2005 Protocol on Implementation of CBMs, 2005 Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for settlement of the India-China Boundary Question, "both India and China have committed to clarification and confirmation of the LAC to reach a common understanding of the alignment of the LAC."
The spokesperson's comments came after a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Hindustan Times that China abides by the LAC as proposed by then Premier Zhou Enlai to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in a letter dated November 7, 1959.
"In fact, the two sides had engaged in an exercise to clarify and confirm the LAC up to 2003, but this process could not proceed further as the Chinese side did not show a willingness to pursue it," the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson added that "the insistence now of the Chinese side that there is only one LAC is contrary to the solemn commitments made by China in these agreements."
He said that India has always respected and abided by the LAC. "As the Hon'ble Raksha Mantri stated in the Parliament recently, it is the Chinese side which by its attempts to transgress the LAC in various parts of the Western Sector, has tried to unilaterally alter the status quo."
The official said that the Chinese side "has repeatedly affirmed that the current situation in the border areas should be resolved in accordance with the agreements signed between the two countries". "In the agreement reached between External Affairs Minister and his Chinese counterpart on 10th September also, the Chinese side has reiterated its commitment to abide by all the existing agreements," the official said.
"We, therefore, expect that the Chinese side will sincerely and faithfully abide by all agreements and understandings in their entirety and refrain from advancing an untenable unilateral interpretation of the LAC."
India and China, which held the sixth round of Senior Commanders' meeting on Monday following border tensions in eastern Ladakh, have agreed to avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments, stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any actions that may complicate the situation.
The two sides also agreed to strengthen communication on the ground and to hold the next round of Military Commander-Level Meeting as soon as possible.
A joint press statement on Tuesday said that the two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on "stabilizing the situation along the LAC in the India - China border areas". It said that the two sides agreed to take practical measures to properly solve problems on the ground.
(With ANI inputs)