Beijing apparently told Delhi today that Chinese soldiers had, in fact, not crossed the border between the two countries, contrary to widespread reports by Indian government sources and the international media that a contingent of Chinese soldiers and helicopters had ventured six miles into India and set up camp.
“I want to reiterate here that the Chinese border troops have been acting in strict compliance with the bilateral agreements and conducting normal patrol on the Chinese side of the LAC. They have never crossed the line,” said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson. China also reportedly objected to India’s infrastructure development—”especially roads and bridges”—on the Indian side of the border, and told Delhi to halt “aggressive patrolling.”
It’s worth pointing out the strategic nature of the area, called Daulat Beg Oldi, where the Chinese troops are reported to be. Just 30 kilometers north of where the Chinese soldiers are camped is the Khunjerab Pass, where the Karakoram Highway crosses the mountains between Pakistan and China’s western region of Xinjiang (21 people were killed in a “terrorist” attack there today, according to Chinese authorities).
This standoff doesn’t appear to be on track to end anytime soon, but the Indian and Chinese soldiers have pledged to meet and discuss. We’ll keep our eye on the proceedings.