China has no locus standi to comment on India’s internal matters, New Delhi asserted today, reacting to Beijing’s remarks after the opening of 44 bridges in border areas on Monday.

The Union Territories of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir have been, are and will remain an integral part of India,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

“Our position on Arunachal Pradesh has also been made clear several times. Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India. This fact has also been clearly conveyed to the Chinese side on several occasions, including at the highest level,” he added.

On Defence Minister Rajnath Singh opening a series of new bridges in border areas, China had said it “does not recognize the Ladakh Union Territory illegally set up by India”.

According to the government, the new bridges will facilitate faster movement of troops and weapons closer to the border.

Zhao Lijian, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, had called border infrastructure development “the root cause for tension between the two sides” and said neither country should take action that might escalate tensions.

“First I want to make it clear that China does not recognise the Ladakh Union Territory illegally set up by the Indian side and the Arunachal Pradesh. We stand against the development of infrastructure facilities aimed at military contention along the border area,” the Chinese spokesperson had said.

“Based on consensus, neither should take actions along the border that might escalate the situation that is to avoid undermining the efforts by the two sides to ease the situation. We urge the Indian side to earnestly implement our consensus and refrain from actions that might escalate the situation and take concrete measures to safeguard peace and tranquility along the border,” said Zhao.

New Delhi expressed hope that “countries will not comment on India’s internal matters, as much as they expect the same of others”.

The foreign ministry spokesperson said: “We give special attention to border areas. Peace and tranquility will return by scrupulously following the agreement reached.”

Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a face-off in eastern Ladakh since May and tension peaked in June when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the line of duty in a clash with the Chinese at Galwan Valley. Last month, shots were fired in the air more than once as the two armies came face to face at Pangong Tso.