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China on Friday responded guardedly to India setting up a mountain strike corps, saying trust building measures were in place to ensure that the disputed border between the two neighbours areas remained peaceful.
The Indian government’s decision to give the green signal to the new corps came days after defence minister, AK Antony’s visit to China where he discussed the border situation – including the incident at Depsang in April – with Premier Li Keqiang, defence minister Chang Wangquan and state councillor, Yang Jiechi.
After the series of meetings, both sides had issued a joint statement saying that both countries were in consensus that peace along the disputed border was a guarantor for development.
“Noting that peace and tranquility on the border was an important guarantor for the growth and development of bilateral cooperation, the Ministers emphasised the importance of enhancing mutual trust and understanding between the two militaries,” the joint statement issued at the end of Antony’s visit said.
On Friday, the foreign ministry did not make any direct reference to the development of the new corps but reiterated that agreements were in place to ensure a calm border.
“The Chinese and Indian governments have signed several agreements on safeguarding peace and tranquility in the border areas and on taking trust-building measures in the field of military,” the foreign ministry said in a response to a written query from PTI.
“The overall situation in the border areas between the two countries is peaceful and stable. The Chinese side is ready to work with the Indian side to maintain peace and tranquility on the border areas,” the response said.
During his interaction with the Indian media at the end of his visit, Antony had declined to comment on whether China had asked India to stop developing infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Whether China now thinks that thousands of Indian troops along the border in the next few years will be adding to infrastructure remains to be seen.