China and India are neighbours, and maintaining a good relationship serves both countries’ interests, said Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe on Sunday, emphasising that the two countries are working together for peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Wei, speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue, also advocated for peaceful measures of resolving territorial issues, particularly those in the South China Sea.
“China and India are neighbours, and having a positive relationship benefits both countries.” And that is what we are working on,” he stated emphatically.
In response to a query on the dispute along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India, Wei stated, “We have held 15 rounds of commander-level talks with the Indians, and we are working together for peace.”
Wei was replying to a question from Dr Tanvi Madan, head of the Brookings Institution’s The India Project.
Madan had asked the minister to explain why the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) unilaterally moved to change the status quo at multiple points along the LAC with India two years ago, reasons that led to a military clash, the first in 45 years between the two countries, and steps that were in violation of agreements carefully negotiated by Beijing and Delhi over a 25-year period.
Since May 5, 2020, when a violent fight between the two sides occurred in the Pangong lake area, Indian and Chinese forces have been involved in a tense border stalemate in eastern Ladakh.
In the border areas with India, China has also been building bridges and other infrastructure such as highways and residential units.
To end the Ladakh impasse, India and China have had 15 rounds of military talks.
As a consequence of the discussions, the two parties concluded the disengagement process on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake, as well as in the Gogra region, last year.
However, both sides presently have 50,000 to 60,000 troops stationed along the LAC in the critical zone.
India has continuously maintained that peace and serenity along the LAC are critical to the overall growth of bilateral relations.