The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday released an official statement on the second bridge being constructed by Chinese officials across the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that a second bridge being constructed is in an area that has been under illegal occupation of China since the 1960s.
He said India has never accepted such illegal occupation of India's territory.
"We have seen reports of a bridge being constructed by China on Pangong Lake alongside its earlier bridge," he said.
"Both these bridges are in areas that have continued to be under the illegal occupation of China since the 1960s," Bagchi said.
He was replying to media queries on the matter.
"We have never accepted such illegal occupation of our territory, nor have we accepted the unjustified Chinese claim or such construction activities," the spokesperson said.
"We have made it clear on several occasions that the union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of India and we expect other countries to respect India's sovereignty and territorial integrity," he added.
In order to ensure that the nation's security interests are fully protected, Bagchi added that the government has stepped up development of border infrastructure especially since 2014, including construction of roads and bridges.
"The government remains committed to the objective of creating infrastructure along the border areas to not only meet India's strategic and security requirements but also facilitate the economic development of these areas," he said.
The spokesperson said the government keeps a constant watch on all developments that have a bearing on India's security and takes all necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Read full statement:
Earlier in the day, following reports of China building a second bridge over the Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that India's national security and territorial integrity are non-negotiable while urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to defend the nation.
"China builds 1st bridge on Pangong. GOI: We are monitoring the situation. China builds 2nd bridge on Pangong. GOI: We are monitoring the situation," the Congress leader said in a tweet.
"India's National security and territorial integrity is non-negotiable. A timid and docile response won't do. PM must defend the Nation," he added.
(With PTI and ANI inputs)