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NEW DELHI: The government on Saturday called China’s claim over Ladakhs Galwan Valley unacceptable and clarified that the violent faceoff, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, had taken place due to the intrusion of Chinese troops into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an all-party meeting said that there are no intrusions into the Indian territory in Ladakh, and not a single Indian border post is overrun, triggering confusion about the violent clashes that led to the killing of 20 Indian Army soldiers in Galwan Valley on Monday night.

After Prime Minister’s ambiguous statement, China on Saturday morning claimed its sovereignty over the entire Galwan Valley. In a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the government has now said that China’s claims over Galwan Valley are unacceptable.

Reiterating that the position with regard to the Galwan Valley area has been historically clear, official spokesperson of the MEA, Anurag Srivastava, said the “attempts by the Chinese side to now advance exaggerated and untenable claims with regard to the LAC there are not acceptable.”

Beijing’s latest claims, the government said, “are not in accordance with China’s own position in the past.” Giving a point-by-point rebuttal to China’s claims about the sequence of events that led to massive violence at the LAC, the spokesperson said that since early May 2020, the Chinese side has been hindering India’s normal, traditional patrolling pattern in the area.

“This had resulted in a faceoff which was addressed by the ground commanders as per the provisions of the bilateral agreements and protocols. We do not accept the contention that India was unilaterally changing the status quo. On the contrary, we were maintaining it,” he said.

The government said that subsequently in mid-May, the Chinese side attempted to transgress the LAC in other areas of the Western Sector of the India-China border areas.

“These attempts were invariably met with an appropriate response from us,” the statement said. Thereafter, the two sides were engaged in discussions through established diplomatic and military channels to address the situation arising out of Chinese activities on the LAC.

Recalling that the senior commanders of both sides met on June 6, the government said that both China and India agreed on a process for de-escalation and disengagement along the LAC that involved reciprocal actions. Both sides had agreed to respect and abide by the LAC and not undertake any activity to alter the status quo.

“However, the Chinese side departed from these understandings in respect of the LAC in the Galwan Valley area and sought to erect structures just across the LAC. When this attempt was foiled, Chinese troops took violent actions on June 15, 2020 that directly resulted in casualties,” the government in New Delhi said.

Indian troops, the government reiterated, are fully familiar with the alignment of the LAC in all sectors of the India-China border areas, including in the Galwan Valley.

“They abide by it scrupulously here, as they do elsewhere. The Indian side has never undertaken any actions across the LAC. In fact, they have been patrolling this area for a long time without any incident. All infrastructure built by the Indian side is naturally on its own side of the LAC,” the statement said.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and the Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi, had a conversation on June 17 wherein Jaishankar conveyed India’s protest in the strongest terms on the events leading up to and on the violent face-off on June 15.

He firmly rejected the unfounded allegations made by the Chinese side and the misrepresentation of the understandings reached between the senior Commanders. He also underlined that it was for China to reassess its actions and take corrective steps.

The two Ministers also agreed that the overall situation would be handled in a responsible manner, and that both sides would implement the disengagement understanding of June 6 sincerely.

“The two sides are in regular touch and early meetings of military and diplomatic mechanisms are currently being discussed,” the spokesperson said.