China can't remain oblivious to India's illegal constructions in Ladakh: FM Qureshi

Updated 27 May 2020

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says New Delhi's "aggressive policy against its neighbours is putting regional peace and stability at stake". — AP/File
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says New Delhi's "aggressive policy against its neighbours is putting regional peace and stability at stake". — AP/File

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Wednesday that the recent conflict between China and India was triggered by the latter's "illegal constructions" in Ladakh, Radio Pakistan reported.

Qureshi said that while China wished to resolve issues through dialogue, it "cannot remain oblivious to India's illegal constructions" as he urged the world community to take notice of India's hostile policies.

The foreign minister, in a conversation with state broadcaster Pakistan Television (PTV), expressed concern over the construction of roads and airstrips by India in Ladakh, which is a disputed territory, adding that New Delhi's "aggressive policy against its neighbours is putting regional peace and stability at stake".

Qureshi pointed out that New Delhi had stripped occupied Jammu and Kashmir of its special status last year, saying that the move showed India's intention of "changing the demographic composition of the territory".

He also claimed India had "used the land of Afghanistan against Pakistan".

In a separate statement, the foreign minister said: "The world should take notice of India's motives, where is it headed?

"Sometimes India has problems with Nepal, at other times, it (New Delhi) tries to disrupt the Afghan peace process.

"India tries to promote unrest in Balochistan and now it has done the same in Ladakh and is trying to blame China for it."

In a series of tweets, Prime Minister Imran Khan also condemned India's "arrogant expansionist policies", saying that they were "becoming a threat to India's neighbours".

Earlier this month, Indian media had reported that several Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in a border face-off at Naku La in North Sikkim.

“Incident of face-off took place between the troops and, as a result of aggressive behaviour, minor injuries took place on both sides. Troops disengaged after dialogue and interaction at the local level,” The Hindu quoted army sources as saying.

Temporary and brief face-offs occur as boundaries are not resolved, sources said, and troops resolve such issues mutually as per established protocols, the paper said. “Such an incident occurred after a long time,” sources added.

Interviews with former Indian military officials and diplomats suggest the trigger for the flare-up is India’s construction of roads and air strips. The Indian foreign ministry has not commented on this.

Currently, soldiers from both sides are camped out in the Galwan Valley in the high-altitude Ladakh region, accusing each other of trespassing over the disputed border, the trigger of a brief but bloody war in 1962.

About 80 to 100 tents have sprung up on the Chinese side and about 60 on the Indian side where soldiers are billeted, Indian officials briefed on the matter in New Delhi and in Ladakh’s capital, Leh, said.

Both were digging defences and Chinese trucks have been moving equipment into the area, the officials said, raising concerns of a long faceoff.

Trump offers to mediate 'raging' India-China border dispute

US President Donald Trump said he had offered to mediate a standoff between India and China at the Himalayan border.

“We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute,” Trump tweeted.

The Republican president in January offered to “help” in the Kashmir dispute as well.

This was after a similar offer was rejected in 2019 by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said last July he never asked Trump to help mediate over Kashmir.


Additional input by Naveed Siddiqui.