Foreign and defence ministry officials in Beijing said they were speaking out to “clear up rumours and help the world to know the truth” after accusing New Delhi and the Indian media of publishing “too much fake news in recent days”. Defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said the two sides held commander-level talks on June 6 when both agreed to take measures to ease tensions in the disputed border region.
He said: “The Indian side has promised not to cross the Galwan Valley to patrol and build facilities and both sides have agreed to retreat their troops from the area.
“But it was shocking that Indian troops publicly violated the agreement, broke their own promise and crossed the LAC to provoke the Chinese side on June 15.
“When Chinese military troops arrived to negotiate, they were suddenly attacked by Indian troops, and that led to a physical fight between the two sides and caused casualties.
“Chinese troops took decisive measures in self-defence and firmly fought back against the violent acts by Indian troops to effectively safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“The incident was caused by India’s violation of the agreement and unilateral provocation, and it occurred on the Chinese side of the LAC which is recognised by both sides.
“The Indian side should take full responsibility for causing the fight.
“China urges India to strictly punish the perpetrators of the incident, strictly control its troops on the frontline, and ensure similar incidents won’t take place again.”
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A military expert at a Beijing-based military academy suggested India was trying to take advantage of China while it battled the coronavirus crisis at home and dealt with “strategic pressure from the US”.
He told the Global Times: “Some Indian decision makers might have believed this was a good chance for India to occupy some territories in the border region, so they took unilateral actions to cross the LAC and build facilities.
“And they might have thought we would not dare to fight back.
“The 20 Indian soldiers’ lives are the price they paid for their foolish attempt.”
Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy might have led India to believe being tough to China could curry favour with the US.
He said: “In 1962, India made very a similar judgement in a similar situation. China had tensions with two super powers – the US and the former Soviet Union – and was also suffering from domestic issues such as poverty and famine, so Indians thought it could be their best chance to seize Chinese land.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a routine daily press briefing: “Since April this year, the Indian border troops have unilaterally built roads and bridges at the Line of Actual Control in the Galwan Valley.
“China has lodged representations and protests on multiple occasions.
“Early on May 6, Indian border troops crossed the LAC by night and trespassed into China’s territory.”
She said: “There is a lot of land which has been annexed by China, not only this time in the Galwan Valley but all along the LAC.
“I have been raising my voice and even meeting with the local administration.
“They know about it but neither the government or the media have raised their voices about it.”