India’s Foreign Minister Jaishankar: “Making absurd claims does not make other people’s territories yours.”
Nearly a week after leaders from China, India and other emerging economies demonstrated their unity at the BRICS summit in South Africa, tensions are mounting between Beijing and New Delhi over decades-old border dispute.
India reacted sharply after China last week released a new official map which showed parts of Indian territory under Beijing control. The revised “map shows the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh and the disputed Aksai Chin plateau as China’s territory,” the BBC reported Wednesday citing Indian sources.
China disputes large parts of the 2100-mile border it shares with India. In the summer of 2020, Chinese military invaded India’s northern Kashmir region, killing 20 Indian soldiers, making it the first deadly clash between the two nuclear powers since the China-India war of 1962.
In early 2023, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered the People’s Liberation Army to stay “ready for combat” along the Indian border.
India’s New Delhi Television (NDTV) reported country’s official response:
China has responded to India’s objection of its new “standard” map – which claims ownership of Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin region in eastern Ladakh – calling it “the normal exercise of sovereignty in accordance with law”. Wang Xiaojian, spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, shared details of a briefing by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, in which he said, “We hope relevant sides stay objective and calm, and refrain from over-interpreting the issue.”
On Tuesday External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had summarily dismissed China’s new “map”, telling NDTV in an exclusive interview Beijing has a “habit” of releasing such maps.
“China has put out maps with territories (that are) not theirs. (It is an) old habit. Just by putting out maps with parts of India… this doesn’t change in anything. Our government is very clear about what our territory. Making absurd claims does not make other people’s territories yours,” he said.
New Map claims South China Sea
Besides including parts of India, the Chinese map also stakes claim over most of the South China Sea, which violates the maritime sovereignty of Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. “The map showed the “nine-dash line,” which depicts all of Taiwan and the entire South China Sea as Chinese territory,” the German state-owned DW TV reported.
The Chinese provocation prompted some of these countries to lodge official protest. “Two other Asian governments, Malaysia and Taiwan, joined in Wednesday to criticize China’s claims over nearly the entire South China Sea and over self-ruled Taiwan. The Philippines said Thursday it also “rejected” the map’s depiction of Chinese maritime claims,” The Washington Post reported Thursday.
The latest round of conflict highlights the fragile nature of BRICS alliance, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Facing U.S. and European sanctions, Russia seeks to create an anti-Western alliance, banking largely on the support from China and India. The BRICS has lofty ambitions of floating a new reserve currency to replacing the U.S. dollar and creating a payment system to rival U.S.-based SWIFT.DONATE
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