Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe.

Singapore: China and India are neighbours and maintaining a good relationship meets the interests of both countries, Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe said on Sunday, stressing that the two nations are working together for peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Addressing the Shangri-La Dialogue here, Wei also called for peaceful means for settling territorial disputes including those in the South China Sea.

China and India are neighbours and maintaining a good relationship meets the interests of both countries. And that is what we are working on, he stressed.

On a question about conflict on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India, Wei said, “We have had 15 rounds of talks at commander level with the Indians and we are working together for peace in this area.”

Wei was responding to a question by Dr Tanvi Madan, director of The India Project at the Brookings Institution, a US think tank.

Madan had asked the minister to explain why the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) two years ago had unilaterally moved to change the status quo at multiple points at the LAC with India, reasons that led to a military clash, the first in 45 years between the two countries, and steps that were in violation of agreements that Beijing-Delhi had carefully negotiated over 25 years.

The Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a tense border standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 5, 2020, when a violent clash between the two sides erupted in the Pangong lake area.

China has also been building bridges and constructing other infrastructure such as roads and residential units in the border areas with India.

India and China have held 15 rounds of military talks so far to resolve the Ladakh standoff.

As a result of the talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year on the north and south banks of Pangong lake in Ladakh and in the Gogra area.

However, each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.

India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the LAC were key for the overall development of the bilateral ties.

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