On Wednesday, China expressed its opposition to the joint Indian-American military drills taking place close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), claiming that they violate the spirit of the two border agreements that were signed by Beijing and New Delhi.
'Yudh Abhyas,' a joint military exercise between India and the US, is now in its 18th edition in Uttarakhand, around 100 kilometers from the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Through this joint military exercise, the two forces hope to better coordinate their efforts during peacekeeping and disaster relief missions.
India has been accused by China of breaking the bilateral border agreements from 1993-1993 by hosting joint military drills with the US in Auli, close to Joshimath in Uttarakhand. These are the same agreements that the PLA disregarded on May 5, 2020, when it crossed into Galway to impose the already rejected 1959 line in East Ladakh unilaterally.
Yudh abhyas - joint military exercise between India and USA
These two-week drill exercises between the US and Indian forces will enable both armies to exchange knowledge and benefit from each other's diverse experiences, abilities, and approaches.
The Chinese military expressed similar concerns about the India-US military exercises in August.
Bilateral ties between the two nations have suffered greatly ever since the Chinese and Indian armies clashed in the Galway Valley in June 2020.
Interestingly, the Chinese Foreign Ministry referred to the 1993 and 1996 agreements because India claimed that the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) attempts to move a significant number of troops to the LAC in eastern Ladakh in May 2020 violated the bilateral agreements, which stipulate that the boundary dispute be settled through amicable and peaceful negotiations.
The joint exercise near the LAC, according to a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, violated the letter and spirit of pertinent agreements that China and India signed in 1993 and 1996. The joint "Yudh Abhyas" exercise, according to a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Defense, was an attempt by a "third party" to meddle in border disputes between China and India. Since 2004, the Yudh Abhyas exercise has been held annually.
India has constantly argued that the LAC should be peaceful and serene for bilateral relations with China to progress as a whole.
Concern over the yudh abhyas
China has cautioned American officials "to not meddle" with its relations with India and the U.S. to "avoid" tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) from inducing India to "partner more closely" with the U.S.
Beijing claimed on Wednesday that it has voiced worry to New Delhi on the India-US relationship. Yudh Abhyas, a joint military exercise, is taking place in Uttarakhand, around 100 kilometers from the LAC.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) was used more frequently by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 2021 and 2022 as "a tool of statecraft in support of its national strategy and global ambitions," according to the report, which also noted that the PLA had "adopted more dangerous, coercive, and aggressive actions" in the Indo-Pacific region.
The intention of preserving stability.
According to China's military power report 2022, which was presented to the U.S., "Throughout the standoff, PRC [People's Republic of China] officials sought to downplay the severity of the crisis, Congress emphasized Beijing's intention to maintain border stability and stop the standoff from negatively affecting other facets of its bilateral relationship with India.
It continued that beginning in May 2020, Chinese and Indian forces engaged in fights along the LAC in several areas, using rocks, batons, and clubs covered in barbed wire.
Multiple unarmed encounters, a continuing standoff, and military buildups on both sides of the India-China border resulted from differing conceptions of border demarcations along the LAC and recent infrastructure construction, it added.
According to the report, neither China nor India complied with the demands made by each nation, which called for the withdrawal of the other's forces and a return to the pre-standoff circumstances. India accused China of launching aggressive incursions into Indian territory, while the PRC blamed the standoff on Indian infrastructure development that it saw as encroaching on PRC territory, the report said.
Violating the spirit
Zhao Lijian, the spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded that China had already raised concern to the Indian side in response to a question about Yudh Abhyas during a daily media briefing in Beijing. "The spirit of the agreements reached between India and China in 1993 and 1996 is violated by the joint military exercise between India and the U.S. near the LAC at the China-India boundary. It undermines the mutual trust between China and India, he said.
General Manoj Pande, the head of the Indian Army, recently stated, as reported by The Hindu, that the situation along the Ladakh-Afghanistan Corridor (LAC) was "stable but unpredictable." He also noted that five of the seven friction points had been resolved, and that attention was now being placed on the final two points, Demchok and Depsang.
It's going to be very important to see what turns India and China relations will take after this exercise. India has frequently advocated for the restoration of the status quo along the LAC and has repeatedly said that the relationship cannot return to normal as long as the situation along the LAC persists.
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