Referring to the 15th round of military negotiations held on March 11, the Chinese defence ministry also said the talks were “positive” and “constructive"

Beijing: China and India are firmly opposed to any third party interference in the border dispute, the Chinese defence ministry said on Thursday, adding that the two countries have agreed to resolve differences by negotiating and consulting each other.

Referring to the 15th round of military negotiations held on March 11, the defence ministry also said the talks were “positive” and “constructive”.

“China and India sides have agreed to properly handle the border issue through negotiation and consultation, firmly opposing interference from a third party,” senior colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Chinese ministry of national defence (MND), said at the monthly press conference in Beijing on Thursday, a transcript of which was published on a Chinese military portal.

Wu was commenting on the recent remarks by US assistant secretary of defence for Indo-Pacific security affairs Ely Ratner.

Ratner had said that India is facing a severe situation from the Chinese side along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), to which, the US keeps close attention.

Ratner’s comments came in the run-up to the 15th round of military talks between India and China held on March 11 to resolve the ongoing friction in eastern Ladakh.

Wu also pointed out that the border issue is a matter between China and India

Speaking on the 15th round of talks, Wu said: “The two sides reiterated that the settlement of the remaining issues would help restore peace and tranquillity in the area and promote the development of bilateral relations.”

“The two sides had agreed to continue to keep security and stability on the frontline in the Western Sector, and maintain dialogue via military and diplomatic channels so as to reach a mutually acceptable solution to the remaining issues as soon as possible,” Wu said.

Ahead of the talks, the Chinese foreign ministry had said it was hopeful that India and China will make progress to resolve friction at the LAC; Indian officials had similarly said that recent statements by both sides to find a mutually acceptable solution were encouraging and positive.

The Indian delegation was led by commander of XIV Corps, responsible for guarding the LAC in eastern Ladakh, Lt Gen Anindya Sengupta.

The Chinese delegation was headed by Maj Gen Yang Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang military district, who had also led the discussions in the 14th round in January for the first time.

Despite several rounds of diplomatic and military talks over the past two years, the two sides have been unable to end the nearly 22-month standoff in eastern Ladakh.

Earlier this month, the Chinese foreign ministry told HT that the Chinese side is working closely with India to reach an acceptable solution to the standoff in eastern Ladakh “as soon as possible”, and it contended that troop disengagement has taken place at Galwan Valley, Pangong Lake and, for the first time, Hot Springs.

The Indian side has only acknowledged disengagement of frontline forces on the northern and southern banks of Pangong Lake and at Gogra.