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New Delhi slams China’s hypocrisy over India-US joint military exercises

The 18th edition of the India-US joint military exercise 'Yudh Abhyas' is currently underway in Uttarakhand.

The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday refuted China’s claim that the joint India-US military exercises near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) violate the spirit of the two border agreements agreed upon by New Delhi and Beijing.

The MEA pointed out that instead China should introspect how they have frequently breached the 1993 and 1996 border agreements between the two countries.

India conducts military exercises with whomsoever it chooses and no third country has a veto on this issue, the MEA, statement added.

China’s raising of the 1993 and 1996 bilateral agreements for conveying concerns over India-US joint exercises at Auli in Uttarakhand reflects Beijing’s changing stand to suit its own strategic interests.

The Chinese Defence Ministry spokesperson said the joint “Yudh Abhyas” exercise was an effort by a “third party” to meddle in India-China border affairs. However, the Yudh Abhyas exercise has been an annual affair since 2004.

China’s stand smacks of hypocrisy as while it appears to be swearing by the border agreements with India, the aggressive neigbouring country has quite conveniently overlooked its brazen violation of these pacts when the PLA intruded into Galwan n May 5, 2020, and then in the areas of Kugrang Nala, Gogra and north banks of Pangong Tso  salt-water lake.

The PLA has clearly violated both these agreements with its military buildup near the LAC since May 2020 and is refusing to withdraw its troops despite several rounds of talks at the military and diplomatic levels.

In addition, the Chinese Air Force has violated air protocols since May 2020 under the 1993-1996 agreements that do not allow aircraft within 10 km of the LAC.

Chinese recall of the 1993-1996 bilateral agreements on India-US joint high-altitude warfare exercises also reveals the concern that Beijing has about New Delhi and Washington joining hands on national security issues and the strategic co-operation in the Indo-Pacific region between the two democratic countries. It is with this in mind that the Chinese propaganda media has been trying to harp on India’s strategic autonomy to keep New Delhi distant from Washington on security issues, according to a report in the Hindustan Times.