Beijing denies reports of Chinese troops laying cables at border with India
The Foreign Ministry in Beijing on Tuesday denied media reports that Chinese troops are laying fiber-optic cables at a point of contention on the border with India.
The two countries will remain in communication through diplomatic and military channels, ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters.
Indian officials said on Monday that Chinese troops were laying a network of fiber-optic cables at a western Himalayan flashpoint with India. The statement came amid high-level talks aimed at resolving a standoff in the area.
Such cables could provide forward troops with secure lines of communication to bases in the rear. They have recently been spotted to the south of Pangong Tso Lake in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, a senior government official said.
However, Wang denied the reports, saying that China hopes India can make concrete efforts to help de-escalate border tension and meet Beijing halfway.
Thousands of Indian and Chinese troops backed by tanks and aircraft are locked in an uneasy stalemate along a 70km-long line, and each country has accused the other of escalations.
One Indian official said on Monday that there had been no significant withdrawals or reinforcements on either side, and it was as tense as earlier since the foreign ministers of the two countries met last week.
India’s biggest worry is that “they have laid fiber-optic cables for high-speed communications,” an official said, referring to the lake’s southern bank, where Indian and Chinese troops are only a few hundred meters apart at some points. Fiber-optic cables offer communications security as well as the ability to send data such as pictures and documents.
China accused Indian troops on September 8 of violating the de facto border in Eastern Ladakh and firing warning shots in violation of de-escalation agreements. India’s government said, however, that it was the Chinese patrol that discharged firearms.
India says that its 20 soldiers were killed in Galwan Valley on June 15, but the Chinese side never confirmed the number of casualties on its side.
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