China says ‘positive consensus’ with India over border dispute

Consensus achieved after ‘effective communication’ through diplomatic and military channels, says Chinese ministry.

Indian tourist rides on a horse back at the Pangong lake high up in Ladahak region of India. The Chinese soldiers hurled stones while attempting to enter Ladakh region near Pangong Lake on Tuesday but
Indian and Chinese troops have been involved in a face-off since May in India's Ladakh region [File: Manish Swarup/AP]

China says it has reached a “positive consensus” with India over resolving tensions at the border between the two countries, where troops have faced off in recent weeks.

A “positive consensus” on resolving the latest border issue was achieved following “effective communication” through diplomatic and military channels, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Wednesday.

“Currently both sides are taking appropriate actions to ease the border situation based on this consensus,” she said, without giving further details.

On Sunday, New Delhi said the two countries had agreed to “peacefully resolve” the border flare-up after a high-level meeting between army commanders on Saturday.

Tensions flare on a fairly regular basis between the two regional powers over their 3,500-kilometre (2,200-mile) frontier, which has never been properly demarcated.

Thousands of troops from the two nuclear-armed neighbours have been involved in the latest face-off since May in India’s Ladakh region, bordering Tibet – before signs in recent days that a resolution was in sight.

In a later statement India’s foreign ministry said the two sides would “continue the military and diplomatic engagements to resolve the situation and to ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas”.

‘Chinese refusing to move back’

But sources and Indian news reports suggest that India appears to have effectively ceded to China areas that the People’s Liberation Army occupied in recent weeks, notably parts of the northern side of the Pangong Tso lake and some of the strategically important Galwan river valley.

“The Chinese are refusing to move back from their newly captured positions both in Pangong and Galwan valley. They are consolidating the new status quo,” a senior Indian military officer stationed in the region told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

He added that the Chinese had only “thinned their troop concentration at these two places somewhat”.

Press reports say further talks are expected this week.

There have been numerous face-offs and brawls between Chinese and Indian soldiers at the frontier – they fought a brief war in 1962 – but they have become more frequent in recent years.

On May 9, several Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in a high-altitude cross-border clash involving fists and stone-throwing in Sikkim state.

Indian officials said Chinese troops within days encroached over the demarcation line in the Ladakh region, further to the west. India then moved in extra troops to the area.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have sought to ease the tensions at summits over the past two years when they agreed to boost border communications between their militaries.

Source: AFP