Three Indians violated the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in early December only to be detained by soldiers from the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China said on Tuesday, but added that it was the recently signed Sino-India border pact that helped resolve the issue swiftly.
According to reports in Indian media earlier this week, three Indian civilian porters were detained by PLA soldiers while they were still on the Indian side of the LAC in the Chumar area in east Ladakh.
"In early December, three persons from the Indian side illegally entered the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Chinese side took temporary measures against them in accordance with relevant laws," the Chinese ministry of defence told HT in a statement in response to a list of faxed questions.
It is rare for China's defence ministry to react to Sino-India border stand-offs and the brief statement in Chinese did not specify where the incident occurred or the dates but outlined the broad sequence of events.
"After interaction and consultations between the border troops from both sides, the matter has been properly resolved," the defence ministry said.
It was the first major reported incident reported in less than two months of the high-profile Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's China visit. "It also showed the importance for the border troops of both sides to strengthen interaction and cooperation in accordance with the China-India BDCA," the ministry said.
But the incident had raised questions on whether cracks were already appearing in the BDCA, which was put in place in the backdrop of the edgy stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops at Daulat Beg Oldi in Ladakh in April.
A subsection in Article II of the BDCA says the two sides shall assist the other side in "…in locating personnel, livestock, means of transport and aerial vehicles that may have crossed or are possibly in the process of crossing the LAC in the India-China border areas."
Chinese officials always make it a point to note that the perception of the LAC differs between the two countries with a disputed border running over 4000 km.
The Chinese defence ministry said it was the interaction between border troops - as envisaged under the BDCA - that resolved the issue quickly.
It added that China was always ready to cooperate with India in the border region.
"The timely and quick settlement of the issue demonstrated that the Chinese side is always committed to work together with the Indian side to maintain peace and stability in the border region and effectively manage border related differences," the defence ministry said.