Locals in Ladakh's capital Leh have strongly objected to China once again staking a claim to the region, and reiterated that Ladakh is and will always remain an integral part of India.
Their strong reaction comes in the wake of China releasing a new map last week, in which it showed the whole of Arunachal Pradesh and large parts of Jammu and Kashmir as its territories.
Talking to ANI recently on the sidelines of the third Ladakh International Film Festival, Riyaz Ahmad, a local, said, "Even I have heard that China has made a map where they are calling Ladakh a part of China. So, it was sad to hear this, as we consider ourselves Indians and Ladakh has always been an integral part of India. China should not do this. We are a part of India and we don't want to be under the Chinese rule. All I can say is that whatever China is doing is not good."
Another local said, "According to us Ladakh is a part of India. So, we are Indians and China should not do these kinds of things. They keep doing something or the other. Recently, they have shown Arunachal and Ladakh as a part of China. We feel really bad and our government should respond to it strongly."
The Chinese cartographic aggression came days after Chinese troops reportedly made a six kilometre-deep incursion into the Pangong Lake area of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir on June 24, and went back after staying put in their high speed boats for about two hours.
On Saturday, India reacted sharply to a new Chinese map that shows Arunachal Pradesh as part of China, the latest flare-up of a territorial dispute that has festered between the Asian giants for decades. Its foreign ministry dismissed the new map issued by Chinese authorities this week, saying cartographic depiction did not change the reality that Arunachal was part of India.
Arunachal Pradesh is one of the biggest bones of contention between the Asian neighbours who are competing for global influence and resources. The row over the map comes amid reports that Chinese troops intruded into Indian territory in Ladakh.
China and India still claim vast swathes of each other's territories along their 3,500 km Himalayan border which has largely remained peaceful since a 1962 war, but their unsettled border remains the biggest single impediment to better relations, despite growing bilateral trade.