Top China Army body says Ladakh intrusion was accidental
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Terming the border stand-off with India in Ladakh's Depsang valley in April as accidental and not deliberately staged, the top military policy-making body of the People's Liberation Army has emphasised that China's defence policy remains defensive and that it does not see India's military modernisation as a threat.
In its first comments on the face-to-face situation in Depsang that had threatened to push bilateral relations to a new low, the PLA's Academy of Military Science (AMS) has said that "accidental incidents" that take place between "friendly neighbouring nations" such as India and China should not be mistaken as something that can possibly expand into large-scale aggression.
"When it comes to China's national defence strategy, there is one point that will never change and that is that we pursue a policy that is defensive in nature," Maj Gen Chen Zhou of the AMS, the key author of China's white paper on defence, told a group of visiting Indian journalists.
The April incident sparked tension between the neighbours after Chinese troops set up a temporary camp in the disputed Depsang valley, prompting a similar response by Indian troops.
Senior analysts and researchers at AMS sought to drive home the point that the incident was accidental in nature and that it should not be described as a "stand off". Beijing had said in the past that its troops had not crossed the border and were camping on the Chinese side of the disputed boundary line.
"Because we do not have a finalized order of the boundary lines between China and India, these kinds of incidents are unavoidable and take place but I disagree with the use of the word stand off...The confrontation on the border can be described as not deliberately staged," Col Ma Jun, a senior AMS researcher, said.
The resolution of the matter in less than a month proved that mechanisms to resolve such matters between the two nations work, he added. "Both sides are committed to solving the (boundary) issue through peaceful negotiations and maintaining the general picture of the state between China and India," he said.