New Delhi: A day after the Centre agreed that China is building a second bridge on the Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh in an area which India believes is held illegally by China, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said his party had brought it to the BJP-led Centre’s notice but it didn’t bother to take any step.
Kharge said, “China is building villages and roads across the border. We brought this to the notice of (Centre) government, they didn’t even care and told lies while misleading and misguiding the people and the youth. They will realise that they have committed the mistake.”
After media reports on the alleged construction of the bridge, the Ministry of External Affairs, which had initially said it is not sure about any construction, Friday issued a statement and said, “Both these bridges are in areas that have continued to be under the illegal occupation of China since the 1960s.” The statement added, India has not accepted China’s “unjustified claim” or “such construction activities.
“We have seen reports of a bridge being constructed by China on Pangong Lake alongside its earlier bridge. Both these bridges are in areas that have continued to be under the illegal occupation of China since the 1960s. We have never accepted such illegal occupation of our territory, nor have we accepted the unjustified Chinese claim or such construction activities,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
He added, “We have made it clear on several occasions that the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of India and we expect other countries to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The MEA statement also said, “In order to ensure that the nation’s security interests are fully protected, Government has stepped up development of border infrastructure especially since 2014, including construction of roads, bridges, etc. Government remains committed to the objective of creating infrastructure along the border areas to not only meet India’s strategic and security requirements but also facilitate the economic development of these areas. And of course, Government keeps a constant watch on all developments that have a bearing on India’s security and takes all necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”