India should stop provoking China and end stirring up trouble in the region to maintain peace along the long and disputed border, a senior People's Liberation Army (PLA) general said on Thursday, striking a controversial note hours before defence minister, AK Antony was to land in Beijing.
Making strong comments before Antony's arrival, Major General Luo Yuan warned India that it should be careful with words and deeds.
"India should be very cautious in what it does…in what it says," Lou said, adding that India was the only country in the world that was enhancing its military prowess citing China as a threat perception.
Lou repeatedly indicated that the onus was on India to maintain peace along the border between the two neighbours.
"Particularly, the Indian side should not provoke new problems and increase military deployment at the border areas and stir up new problems," Lou said.
Lou, with the Department of World Military Research of the Academy of Military Sciences of the People's Liberation Army, was speaking at a function organised by All-China Journalists Association (ACJA); the topic: China's Path of Peaceful Development.
He said tensions and problems existed between the two countries, particularly in the border areas.
"There is also the problem of 90,000 square kilometre of Chinese territory still occupied by the Indian side. It's a problem leftover from history…(but) India should not provoke, stir up new trouble," Luo said.
The general said Premier Li Keying's visit to India enhanced political relationship. "Now your defense minister is coming. The situation is within control. Up to India not to stir up new trouble," Lou said.
On the recent incident at Deposing, in which India had said that Chinese troops had crossed the Line of Actual Control to cross over to the Indian territory, Lou said media - presumably the Indian media -- had exaggerated the incident.
Lou's words could cast a shadow on Antony's visit who is the first Indian defense minister to visit China since President Pranab Mukherjee - then defense minister - visited in 2006.
Antony is expected to meet Premier Li Keying besides Chinese defense minister, Chang Yangquan; foreign ministry officials had earlier indicated that Antony might meet President Xi Jinxing if the latter's schedule permitted.
Lou said the border issue should be tackled with "calm head", adding that there are common interests between the two countries. He said that it was worth mentioning that China and India had jointly floated the five principles of peaceful coexistence.
He said as a person from the military it was his "sacred mission" to protect China's territorial sovereignty. "I have the eyes and claws of a hawk but the head and heart of a dove," Lou said.