New Delhi, May 28: India on Thursday said it was engaging with Beijing to “peacefully resolve” the build-up along the Line of Actual Control by Indian and Chinese armies, a day after US President Donald Trump’s mediation offer.
The foreign ministry had earlier firmly rebuffed the US President’s multiple offers to mediate between India and Pakistan, underscoring that it was a bilateral issue.
“Our engagement on the diplomatic front continues both in Delhi as well as in Beijing,” Anurag Srivastava, a spokesperson of the foreign ministry, said today.
India and China, he said, have engagements both at the military level as well as the diplomatic level. The two nations have signed several protocols on maintaining peace and tranquility at the border. There are many agreements on this issue.
“Our troops have taken a very responsible approach towards border management and strictly followed protocols. They scrupulously follow the guidance provided by our leadership. At the same time, we will defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.
On Wednesday, President Trump offered to “mediate or arbitrate” what he called a “now raging border dispute” between India and China.
“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. Thank you!,” President Trump had tweeted.
Since the first week of May, Chinese and Indian troops have been skirmishing in Sikkim and Ladakh.
Satellite pictures have shown that Beijing is expanding the existing Ngari Gunsa airbase near Ladakh, building what appears a second taxi-track or a secondary tarmac to position helicopters or combat aircraft. The satellite images also showed four fighter jets — believed to be either J-11 or J-16 fighters of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force — lined up on the tarmac.
Chinese motorboats were also seen patrolling the Pangong late and Chinese helicopters were seen in the area.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with the three service chiefs, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and the Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, to discuss the situation.
A separate meeting was held earlier with the foreign secretary. Sources said prior to the meeting with PM Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had met three service chiefs and briefed them.
Close shots have even revealed fighter jets on the tarmac. Yesterday, China in a notice on its embassy website, offered to fly back its citizens who wanted to return home. (NDTV)