The Indian and Chinese armies recently engaged in a series of stand-offs – first near Naku La Pass in Sikkim and the second at Pangong Tso in Ladakh. As both armies have increased their presence in these regions, New Delhi and Beijing have started exploring diplomatic efforts to resolve the disagreements.
"Within a week, the matter will be resolved. Diplomatic talks are on... Indian Army has deployed forces across the Line of Actual Control in its territory and China too has deployed in its territory", the national wire agency IANS quoted a source privy to the development.
Infrastructure development at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which separates the two countries, is at the heart of the stand-off: the Indian Army claims that if China can build a road in the area under its control, Delhi can do the same in the territory under its control.
The tensions between the two countries have flared up since the last week of April after Chinese personnel entered the LAC with a vehicle, but the Indian Army confronted them, and the matter was resolved.
But the situation escalated in early May when the two neighbours became embroiled in a physical altercation over infrastructure development along the 4,000km Line of Actual Control. Over a dozen troops from both sides were injured in clashes at Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh on 5 May, followed by Naku La in Sikkim on 9 May.
On 14 May, India’s Foreign Office termed the recent flare-up with China as a “difference in perception of the alignment of the Line of Actual Control (LAC)”.
“The two sides have established mechanisms to resolve such situations as and when they arise including Border Personnel Meeting, Flag Meetings, and Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs as well as diplomatic channels”, said a spokesperson for India’s External Affairs Ministry.
Prior to this, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the two Asian giants should manage to handle their differences.
"As to the China-India border issue, our position is clear and consistent. Our troops there are committed to uphold peace and stability. This serves the common interests of our two countries and two peoples. We hope India will work with China to uphold peace and tranquillity in the border regions with concrete actions", Lijian said.
In 2017, the Indian Armed Forces and the People's Liberation Army of China were locked in a 73-day-long stand-off on the disputed Doklam plateau, which exists as a tri-junction at the border that separates India, Bhutan, and China, regarding the building of a road by the Chinese side. As part of Operation Juniper, India deployed some 270 troops and two bulldozers that crossed the Sikkim border into Doklam to prevent their Chinese rivals from constructing the road. Two months later, both sides announced that they had pulled out all their armed forces from the area.