China slammed India on Thursday over a report that it plans to build a road in territory disputed between the two countries, after weeks of tension elsewhere along the border.
India’s newly approved road project will run through the disputed Ladakh region close to Pangong Lake, the country’s Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday. A separate Chinese attempt to build a road in the Doklam area—which is disputed between China and Bhutan—has prompted a standoff between hundreds of Indian and Chinese soldiers, which has lasted for more than two months.
“The Indian side is closely following China’s road building recently, but the Indian’s actions themselves have proven that the Indian side says one thing and does another,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing. She said the reported decision to build a road in Ladakh is “in complete contradiction to its deeds in terms of the border issues.”
“The current road construction in that area by the Indian side is not conducive to peace and stability in that area,” she added.
A video surfaced last week of a brawl between Chinese and Indian soldiers near the Ladakh area, which is over 4,000 meters above sea level on the Tibetan plateau and is a popular tourist attraction.
China and India have a number of border disputes and went to war in 1962 over the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
In 2014 hundreds of Indian and Chinese troops faced off across the de facto border known as the Line of Actual Control that runs along the northwest Indian region of Ladakh. The latest standoff began in mid-June after Chinese troops started building a road on Doklam plateau. India has an army base nearby and moved soldiers into the flashpoint zone to halt the work, prompting Beijing to accuse it of trespassing on Chinese soil.
China has repeatedly said India must withdraw its troops before any proper negotiation on the dispute takes place. India said the two sides should withdraw their forces simultaneously.