India defence ministry says it agreed with China to ease tension on border

NEW DELHI: India said on Saturday (Sep 5) it had agreed with China to work towards reducing tensions along their contested border, following a meeting of the defence ministers of both countries.

Both countries agreed that “neither side should take any further action that could either complicate the situation or escalate matters in the border areas,” the statement from India’s defence ministry said.

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In recent months, India has accused Chinese troops of stealthily crossing the border and building defence structures. Beijing has responded with counter claims, accusing Indian frontier guards of provocative actions.

On Jun 15, troops from the two sides fought hand-to-hand combat in which at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed, said the Indian army. China also acknowledged casualties but did not give numbers.

Both sides have observed a protocol to refrain from using firearms on the disputed border, and during the deadly clash in June, soldiers fought with rocks, clubs and their bare hands.

Despite several rounds of talks after the clash in the Galwan Valley, troops have continued to face off at other points along the border, including the shores of Pangong Tso lake which both countries claim in full.

India and China fought a war in 1962 over their competing territorial claims, and have been unable to agree a permanent border along their frontier of nearly 3,500km.

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