Press Trust of india

India lodges protest with China over its infra development in Shaksgam valley

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New Delhi: India on Thursday said it has lodged a strong protest with China for carrying out construction activities in the Shaksgam Valley in an “illegal attempt to alter the situation on the ground”.

Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Randhir Jaiswal said “the Shaksgam Valley is a part of India and New Delhi never accepted the so-called China-Pakistan boundary pact of 1963 through which Islamabad unlawfully attempted to cede the area to Beijing.”

He said India reserves the right to take necessary measures to safeguard the country’s interests.

Jaiswal’s comments at his weekly media briefing came in response to a question on reports of China building infrastructure in Shaksgam Valley, a strategically located region that is now part of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The Chinese construction activities in the region are taking place amid the over three-and-half-year old border row between India and China in eastern Ladakh.

“The Shaksgam Valley is a part of the territory of India. We have never accepted the so-called China-Pakistan boundary agreement of 1963 through which Pakistan unlawfully attempted to cede the area to China,” Jaiswal said.

“We have consistently conveyed our rejection of the same. We have registered our protest with the Chinese side against illegal attempts to alter facts on the ground,” he said.

“We further reserve the right to take necessary measures to safeguard our interests,” he added.

Jaiswal said India has always taken a “very strong” stand on the Shaksgam Valley.

“Shaksgam Valley is our territory. We have been protesting as and when required and we have always taken a very strong stand on it,” he said.

Asked about the lingering eastern Ladakh border row, Jaiswal said the next round of talks will be held “very soon to take things forward”.

“We have ongoing talks between India and China at diplomatic and military levels. These issues are serious and therefore they take time,” he said.

“We will have the next round of engagement very soon to take things forward,” the MEA spokesperson added.

The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a standoff in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.

India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.

The last round of military talks between the two sides had taken place in February. In the talks, both sides agreed to maintain “peace and tranquility” on the ground but there was no indication of any breakthrough.

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