New Delhi: India on Friday said that a new bridge being built by China on Pangong Tso Lake alongside an earlier one are in areas that have continued to be under illegal occupation of China since the 1960s.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, in a statement, also said that the government keeps a constant watch on all developments that have a bearing on the country’s security and takes all necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The MEA statement read: “We have seen reports of a bridge being constructed by China on Pangong Lake alongside its earlier bridge. “Both these bridges are in areas that have continued to be under the illegal occupation of China since the 1960s. We have never accepted such illegal occupation of our territory, nor have we accepted the unjustified Chinese claim or such construction activities.
“We have made it clear on several occasions that the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of India and we expect other countries to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“In order to ensure that the nation’s security interests are fully protected, the Government has stepped up development of border infrastructure especially since 2014, including construction of roads, bridges, etc. “Government remains committed to the objective of creating infrastructure along the border areas to not only meet India’s strategic and security requirements but also facilitate the economic development of these areas.
“And of course, the Government keeps a constant watch on all developments that have a bearing on India’s security and takes all necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The statement came in response to reports that China is building a ‘bigger, broader’ second bridge at Pangong Tso that can carry armoured columns. The development comes as the Ladakh stand-off between India and China enters its third year.
The first bridge which was finished last month is being used as a service bridge for the construction of the second, the reports said.