China on Wednesday welcomed the upcoming dialogue between Indian and Pakistani defence officials on maintaining ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
The director generals of military operations (DGMO) of India and Pakistan will meet at the Wagah border near Amritsar on December 24 to discuss ways to restore calm along the LoC.
The meeting comes at a time when bilateral ties have been strained due to rising tension along the LoC, with Pakistan violating the November 2003 ceasefire agreement nearly 250 times this year.
The two DGMOs haven't met in 14 years. They last met in 1999 after the Kargil war, a former army chief confirmed. They, however, speak on phone every Tuesday.
“Both India and Pakistan are important countries of south Asia and improved relationship between them is vital to regional peace and stability,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing on Wednesday.
“As a shared neighbor and friend to the two countries, China will as always support them to resolve relevant disputes properly through peaceful dialogue.”
A senior official said Indian DGMO Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia had accepted a proposal made by his counterpart, Major General Amir Riaz, to meet on the Pakistani side of the Wagah border.
The proposed meeting will take place less than a month after General Raheel Sharif replaced Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as Pakistan's new army chief.
The Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement the invitation was extended to “strengthen the mechanisms to ensure ceasefire on the LoC”.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his counterpart Nawaz Sharif had discussed the possibility of the two DGMOs holding talks when they met in New York in September.
(With inputs from Rahul Singh)