x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

China denies its troops have crossed into India's territory

China yesterday dismissed as 'speculation' complaints from New Delhi that its troops had crossed into Indian territory and set up a camp in a remote disputed area of the Himalayas.

BEIJING //China yesterday dismissed as "speculation" complaints from New Delhi that its troops had crossed into Indian territory and set up a camp in a remote disputed area of the Himalayas.

The Indian government claimed at the weekend that soldiers from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) entered the north-east of Ladakh and erected a camp on April 15.

The de facto border separating China and India is known as the Line of Actual Control. It has never been formally demarcated but the countries signed two accords to maintain peace in frontier areas in 1993 and 1996.

"China's frontier troops have been abiding by the agreement between the two countries and abide by the actual line of control between the two countries," said a foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying.

Asked about worries in New Delhi, she said it was "only the speculation of some Indian people".

"Our troops are patrolling on the Chinese side of the actual line of control and have never trespassed the line," Ms Hua added.

Tension at the border is a common problem and the Indian press frequently reports on apparent incursions by Chinese troops, as well as the build-up of Chinese military forces and infrastructure in frontier areas of Tibet.

According to Indian reports, the Chinese troops have remained at the same position since arriving last Monday. Officials in the Indian defence and foreign ministries declined to comment.

Relations between the neighbours are often prickly and marked by mutual suspicion - a legacy of a brief border war in 1962 that was waged in Ladakh and the north-east state of Arunachal Pradesh.

India's The Hindu newspaper reported recently that China's premier, Li Keqiang, was to visit New Delhi next month as part of efforts to boost confidence between the world's most populous countries.

"We believe the current China-India relations have been in a fine shape, there is good communication and coordination on the boundary issue. The border areas are in a peaceful condition," Ms Hua said.

A government source said New Delhi was confident it could settle the territorial dispute "peacefully" through diplomatic channels.