India on Tuesday categorically rejected the "so-called unilaterally defined" Chinese interpretation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) of 1959 in Ladakh and asked the neighbouring country to refrain from advancing an "untenable unilateral" interpretation of the de-facto border. India has repeatedly rejected China's interpretation of LAC since it was first issued 61 years ago.
"India has never accepted the so-called unilaterally defined 1959 Line of Actual Control (LAC). This position has been consistent and well known, including to the Chinese side," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
The MEA comments came after a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Hindustan Times that China abides by the LAC as proposed by then Premier Zhou Enlai to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in a letter dated November 7, 1959.
"Firstly, China-India border LAC is very clear, that is the LAC on November 7, 1959. China announced it in the 1950s, and the international community including India are also clear about it. However, ever since this year, the Indian Army has continued to arrive and illegally cross the border, unilaterally expanding the scope of actual control. This is the source of tension on the border issues," Chinese foreign ministry had said.
Countering China's argument, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava referred to various bilateral agreements, including the 1993 agreement on maintenance of peace and tranquility along the LAC, 1996 pact on confidence building measures (CBMs) and the 2005 agreement on political parameters and guiding principles for settlement of the boundary issue, to emphasise that both sides showed commitment to reach a common understanding of the alignment of the LAC.
"Therefore, the insistence now of the Chinese side that there is only one LAC is contrary to the solemn commitments made by China in these agreements," he said, adding the Indian side has always respected and abided by the LAC.
Tensions have been running high between India and China over the past few months after a "violent face-off" in Galwan valley of Eastern Ladakh in June. Both the countries have been looking to find a solution to the ongoing border dispute.
With PTI inputs