India, China trying to find long-term solution to border dispute: Antony

New Delhi, July 26 (ANI): Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Friday said that both India and China are presently trying to find a long-term solution to their border dispute through frank discussions.

"Both sides are trying to find a long-term solution to the long-pending border dispute. Till that time, our aim is to maintain peace and tranquility along the border. Still, there are disputed points. Both sides are going by their own perceptions. Sometimes, this gives cause to some embarrassing situations," Antony said.

Talks with China, he said, were at the "final settlement" stage and would be continued through another round of talks in Beijing within the next few months.

"The discussion is out to find out a more effective mechanism so that we can prevent the occasional incidents," Antony said apparently referring to the recent spate of incursions by Chinese troops in the Ladakh region.

Antony further explained that the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that runs between India and China has been in dispute for long, which has made both sides increase the number of patrolling soldiers along these points.

"There are more soldiers patrolling in the disputed areas. On some days, it leads to some face-off," he said.

The Indo-China relationship has been extremely tense and a matter of worry over the past few weeks following multiple Chinese intrusions into India. Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) gave its approval for the establishment of a 40,000-strong Mountain Strike Corps along the Indo-China border, which would boost Indian defence capabilities in the area.

Chinese troops are reported to have crossed the Line of Actual Control on July 16, 18 and 20, and on each of these occasions, they intruded into Indian territory upto three kilometers before turning back under pressure from the Indian side.

According to sources, the recently concluded meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs saw India raise the issue of the repeated incursions with the Chinese delegation.

New Delhi has also reportedly raised the issue of lack of coordination with China, especially during the Depsang valley incident in April-May this year, when the Chinese Foreign Ministry's statements didn't align with what their troops were saying at the ground level. According to sources, the Ministry of External Affairs was extremely upset by the incident and summoned the Chinese envoy in New Delhi for a meeting.

The Depsang valley incident of April 2013 saw Chinese troops pitch tents on land claimed by both sides and refused to budge for three weeks. India reacted by putting up tents, including a forward position that was barely 200 metres from the Chinese forward tent. Though Chinese and Indian troops went back to their original bases and not a shot was fired, the Working Mechanism felt these incidents should be eliminated altogether.

On Thursday, Ministry of External spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said India was satisfied with the talks and that "The talks were held in a constructive and forward-looking atmosphere." (ANI)


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