India’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday it had asked China to withdraw troops who allegedly advanced into disputed territory claimed by New Delhi in a remote area of the Himalayas.
“We have asked the Chinese side to maintain the status quo in this sector (of the western border),” spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told a briefing. “By this I mean the status quo prior to this incident.”
He stressed that there were differing perceptions of the undefined border at the limit of the Buddhist-majority Indian region of Ladakh, which is the source of friction between the neighbours.
He said that mechanisms existed to resolve border problems peacefully and that if troops were to come face to face “they shall exercise safe restraint and take all necessary steps to avoid an escalation of the situation”.
Akbaruddin added that the Chinese ambassador to New Delhi had been summoned over the incident and that meetings between local commanders were underway.
China has denied that its troops violated Indian territory or that it is contravening accords signed in 1993 and 1996 between the countries to maintain peace along the so-called Line of Actual Control (LAC).