China, India agree to stop troop deployment along disputed border

China, India agree to stop troop deployment along disputed border

China and India have agreed to stop deploying more troops to their contested border and avoid any action that might complicate the tense situation there.

Senior military officials from both countries met on Monday and exchanged ideas about the contested Himalayan border in Ladakh, Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on Tuesday.

A joint news release said both sides had agreed to “avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments”, and “refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground”.

During the meeting, they also discussed avoiding unilateral action by either country.

Prior to the agreement, tensions between the two powers had persisted despite several attempts to find a diplomatic, military and political solution, including repeated negotiations in Moscow this month.

Last week, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh accused China of violating past border agreements and expanding its troop deployments along the undemarcated border.

Singh told Parliament that India has informed China through diplomatic channels that its “attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo were in violation of the bilateral agreements”.

India and China

share a 3,500km unmarked border through the Himalayas

[File: Manish Swarup/AP]

The nuclear-armed Asian neighbours share a 3,500km (2,100-mile) unmarked border through the Himalayas, where an uneasy peace has held since the two countries signed a truce following a war in 1962.

The world’s two most populous nations have been locked in a border dispute since April when rival soldiers engaged in skirmishes at several points on their mountain border.

On June 15, the border peace was broken following deadly clashes in Galwan Valley in India’s Ladakh region. At least 20 Indian soldiers died in pitched hand-to-hand combat.

Since then, thousands of soldiers have been deployed on both sides of the de facto border, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), with experts concerned tensions might lead to an unintentional war.

India’s military has activated its entire logistics network to transport vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food to thousands of troops in Ladakh in advance of a harsh winter, officials said.