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India and China to ‘redouble’ efforts for resolving border issues ‘at the earliest’

Armoured vehicles of the Indian army at a military camp in Eastern Ladakh on May 19, 2024. 

Tauseef Mustafa | Afp | Getty Images

India and China have agreed to intensify efforts aimed at resolving their longstanding border issues, according to a statement by India’s external affairs ministry.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Thursday.

“The two Ministers agreed that the prolongation of the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side,” the statement read.

The Asian giants have been at loggerheads on the border issue for several decades.

“[Jaishankar] highlighted the need to redouble efforts to achieve complete disengagement from the remaining areas in Eastern Ladakh and restore border peace and tranquility in order to remove obstacles towards return of normalcy in bilateral relations.”

India and China share a 3,500 kilometer Himalayan border. To the west, China controls 38,000 sq. km of territory that India also claims. To the east, India holds 90,000 sq. km that Beijing says belongs to China instead.

Wang said the two countries should “properly handle differences” for stable relations and should come together to “oppose unilateral bullying, resist camp confrontation,” according to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry.

Earlier this year, the U.S. had weighed in on the India-China border issue, drawing a sharp response from Beijing.

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“India-China relationship is best served by observing the three mutuals – mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests,” the statement from India’s external affairs ministry read.

In June 2020, 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers died in a face-off in the Western Himalayas. Although no shots were fired, this was the biggest loss of life in combat between the two countries since 1967.

In March this year, tensions between the two countries heightened once again when China claimed that the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh was part of southern Tibet, referring to the territory as Zangnan.

India refuted those claims, declaring that Arunachal Pradesh had always been part of the South Asian nation.

“The claims are ludicrous to begin with and remain ludicrous today. Arunachal Pradesh is a part of India, because it is a part of India, and not because some other country says it is a part of India,” Jaishankar said, responding to a query by CNBC during his visit to Singapore in March.

— CNBC’s Vinay Dwivedi contributed to this story.

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