India, China hold talks on 'advance' into disputed territory
New Delhi tells Beijing to 'maintain the status quo' prior to Chinese troops' alleged incursion
Agence France-Presse in New Delhi
India and China are holding more talks over an alleged advance by Chinese troops into disputed territory after senior army officers failed to reach a resolution, Indian reports say.
Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony was quoted as telling reporters that "negotiations are going on at various levels to resolve the issue peacefully".
"Our government will take every step to protect the national integrity and security," he said, while on a visit to Bangalore, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
India's foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it had already asked China to withdraw troops who allegedly came across the border and set up camp in a remote area of the Himalayas on April 15.
"We have asked the Chinese side to maintain the status quo in this sector [of the western border]," spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said. "By this I mean the status quo prior to this incident."
Akbaruddin stressed that there were differing perceptions of the undefined frontier in the Buddhist-majority Indian region of Ladakh, which is a source of friction between the neighbours.
Beijing has denied that its soldiers had encroached on Indian territory or that they had contravened accords signed in 1993 and 1996 designed to maintain peace along the so-called Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Local military commanders from both sides have already met this week in a failed attempt to resolve the issue, a reminder of the prickly relationship between the two countries.
Tension at the border is a regular feature and the Indian press frequently reports on minor alleged violations by Chinese troops as well as the build-up of military forces and infrastructure in the frontier areas of Tibet.
Relations between both sides are marked by mutual suspicion - a legacy of a brief border war in 1962 that was waged in Ladakh and in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.