Indian army chief says negotiations can resolve border dispute with China

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By Devjyot Ghoshal

NEW DELHI, September 4 (Reuters) – Indian Army Chief Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane on Friday said he was confident the current border standoff with China could be resolved through talks, so even as thousands of soldiers remained amassed along a disputed region of the Western Himalayas.

“We are sure that the problem can be solved completely through talks,” Naravane, Reuters partner, ANI, said during a visit to the Ladakh region, where troops from the two nuclear-weapon countries are on the move. face each other for months.

India accuses China of violating bilateral agreements by pushing its troops through the Line of Control (LAC), the de facto border, into the snowy deserts of Ladakh.

“The situation along the LAC is slightly tense,” Naravane said, adding that India had deployed additional troops in some areas to block any attempted Chinese incursion.

China, however, accused India of violating the LAC late last month, saying that “the move seriously violated China’s territorial sovereignty,” according to a Chinese embassy spokesperson in New Delhi.

But the two countries have repeatedly said they want talks to resolve the process, with military officials meeting for several days this week south of Lake Pangong Tso in Ladakh, where the latest outbreak occurred in the past. weekend.

Indian and Chinese media reported on Friday a possible meeting between the defense ministers of the two countries in Moscow, where they are attending a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

“Based on what I know, this arrangement between the two sides has progressed. The meeting between Wei Fenghe and Rajnath Singh is very likely to hold,” Hu Xijin, editor of the Chinese newspaper Global Times said on Twitter. , appointing the two defense ministers.

A spokesperson for the Indian Defense Ministry said he had no information on a likely meeting, which would be the first face-to-face talks between senior Indian and Chinese officials since the standoff escalated after a clash between the troops in June.

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in brutal hand-to-hand combat in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15, with the Chinese side also suffering an undisclosed number of casualties.

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