The Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday said India has never accepted the so-called unilaterally defined 1959 Line of Actual Control (LAC), and its position has been well known to all, including China, various news outlets reported.
"India has never accepted the so-called unilaterally defined 1959 Line of Actual Control (LAC). This position has been consistent and well known, including to the Chinese side," external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
Reacting to media reports, which cited, China's foreign ministry as saying that Beijing abides by the LAC proposed by premier Zhou Enlai to prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in a letter dated November 7, 1959 – the first time in decades the Chinese clearly outlined its position on the national boundary by reiterating a position that India has consistently rejected since it was first made 61 years ago.
According to an ANI report, Srivastava pointed out that under several bilateral agreements – including the 1993 Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the LAC, the 1996 Agreement on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the military field, the 2005 Protocol on Implementation of CBMs, and the 2005 Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question – India and China have "committed to clarification and confirmation of the LAC to reach a common understanding of the alignment of the LAC".
"In fact, the two sides had engaged in an exercise to clarify and confirm the LAC up to 2003, but this process could not proceed further as the Chinese side did not show a willingness to pursue it," Srivastava added.
The Indian side also pointed to an apparent dichotomy in the position adopted by the Chinese side – insisting on abiding by the LAC of 1959 while stating in recent discussions on the ongoing border standoff that the issue should be resolved on the basis of the existing agreements, the report added.
"In the last few months, the Chinese side has repeatedly affirmed that the current situation in the border areas should be resolved in accordance with the agreements signed between the two countries," Srivastava said.
Srivastav also pointed out that even in the agreement between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Moscow on September 10, the Chinese side "has reiterated its commitment to abide by all the existing agreements".
The external affairs ministry said the Indian side has "always respected and abided by the LAC". Srivastava quoted the defence minister Rajnath Singh's speech in Parliament recently that "it is the Chinese side which by its attempts to transgress the LAC in various parts of the Western Sector, has tried to unilaterally alter the status quo".
Srivastava added, "We, therefore, expect that the Chinese side will sincerely and faithfully abide by all agreements and understandings in their entirety and refrain from advancing an untenable unilateral interpretation of the LAC."