The Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, has asked for a pullout to preserve “peace and tranquillity” and informed his Chinese counterpart that military installations on their contentious Himalayan border were harming relations.
Since a high-altitude encounter in June 2020 that claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese soldiers, relations between the two Asian superpowers have been tense.
Since then, the neighbors gathered tens of thousands of soldiers near the border, and they continue to do so despite 18 rounds of negotiations between senior military officials from the two nations.
In preparation for a gathering of military ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which India is chairing this year, Singh spoke with his Chinese counterpart General Li Shangfu on Thursday.
According to a statement released by his ministry late on Thursday, the Indian defense minister “categorically” reiterated New Delhi’s position.
“He reiterated that violation of existing agreements has eroded the entire basis of bilateral relations and disengagement at the border will logically be followed with de-escalation,” it added.
India is concerned about the growing military assertiveness of its northern neighbor, and disagreements over their 3,500-kilometer (2,200-mile) shared border is a constant source of conflict.
China considers Tibet to be a part of the entire northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, and the two countries fought a border war in 1962.
The Line of Actual Control, the unofficial boundary between Beijing and New Delhi, has been the subject of repeated accusations from both sides of trying to annex territory.
Li said in a statement published online on Friday that the situation on the border was “stable”.
“We hope that both sides can work together to continuously enhance mutual trust,” the statement added.