India has registered its protest with Beijing against China’s “illegal attempts” to “alter facts on the ground” in the Shaksgam valley of occupied Kashmir, which faces the Siachen glacier, the Ministry of External Affairs said on May 2. MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal was responding to questions on Chinese road construction in the valley.

“The Shaksgam Valley is a part of the territory of India. We have never accepted the so-called China Pakistan Boundary Agreement of 1963 through which Pakistan unlawfully attempted to cede the area to China, and have consistently conveyed our rejection of the same,” Mr. Jaiswal said at the MEA’s weekly press briefing. “We have registered our protest with the Chinese side against illegal attempts to alter facts on the ground. We further reserve the right to take necessary measures to safeguard our interests,” he added.

Critical territory

The Shaksgam valley is part of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, and was ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963, a year after the India-China war.

The Siachen glacier, the world’s highest battlefield, is a piece of Indian territory wedged between China and Pakistan. The 2020 standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh has made the control of Siachen even more critical for India. China has undertaken a massive build-up and deployment along the Line of Actual Control, especially in eastern Ladakh, threatening Indian positions in Depsang and Daulat Beg Oldie. 

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