New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India on Thursday said the bridge being built by China across Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh is in an area that has been under illegal occupation of that country for around 60 years and it has never accepted such action.

At a media briefing, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also slammed China for renaming some places in Arunachal Pradesh and said instead of engaging in such antics, Beijing should work constructively with India to resolve the outstanding friction points in eastern Ladakh. He described it as a "ridiculous exercise" to support "untenable territorial" claims.

On the bridge being built in the Pangong lake area, Bagchi said the government has been monitoring this activity closely. "As regards reports about a bridge being made by the Chinese side on Pangong lake, the government has been monitoring this activity closely," he said.

"This bridge is being constructed in areas that have been under illegal occupation by China for around 60 years now. As you are well aware India has never accepted such illegal occupation," he said. Bagchi said India has been taking all necessary steps to ensure that its security interests are fully protected.

"As part of these efforts, the government has also, in the last seven years, increased significantly the budget for the development of border infrastructure and completed more roads and bridges than ever before," he said.

"These have provided much-needed connectivity to the local population as well as logistical support to armed forces. The government remains committed to this objective," he added.

It has been found that China has been carrying out construction work for a bridge connecting the north and south banks of the Pangong Lake for at least two months now. The bridge will allow the Chinese People's Liberation Army to gain quick access to both sides.

India had occupied the key heights on the Kailash range on the southern bank in August 2020, giving its troops a strategic advantage as they overlooked the Chinese Moldo garrison. However, with the disengagement in Pangong in February last year, India pulled back from the heights as part of a mutual pullback plan to ease tensions.

Further, China implemented its new border law on January 1 that calls for strengthening its border defence, and development of villages and infrastructure near the borders. Just ahead of the implementation of the law, China renamed 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh on its map. India and China have been engaged in a border dispute for around two years now.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan