NEW DELHI • India would insist that China demolish recent construction at a disputed border area and withdraw its troops there as the two neighbours began talks to end a stalemate that started in April, officials with knowledge of the matter said.
The South Asian nation, at a meeting of senior defence officials from both sides yesterday, would also offer to remove construction done at the border last month and revert to the level of military deployment as of April, as long as China reciprocates, the officials said, asking not to be identified.
The meeting would take place at the Chushul-Moldo Military Garrison along the disputed border in Ladakh, they said.
Both countries’ armies are currently on high alert at two locations along the Line of Actual Control – the 3,488km unmarked boundary between India and China. Additional troops have been rushed to the border by both sides, the officials said.
They are facing each other at the Galwan River, which was one of the early triggers of the 1962 India-China war, and at the disputed Pangong Tso – a glacial lake at 4,267m in the Tibetan plateau, portions of which are claimed by both.
India will not stop building roads and bridges inside its territory, the officials said. An Indian Army spokesman was not available for comment. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The meeting will be a “first step to understand what China wants. Simultaneous incidents indicate China is acting as per a plan that has Beijing’s clearance”, said Mr Jayadeva Ranade, a member of the National Security Council Advisory Board and head of the Centre for China Analysis & Strategy.
“India should not hurry to reach a compromise.”
The reasons for the current tensions remain unclear, but India’s decision last year to bring Kashmir under direct federal control drew an angry response from China, similar to that of neighbouring Pakistan, which has close ties with Beijing.
China has said it was unacceptable that India “continued to undermine its territorial sovereignty”.