China and India traded accusations of responsibility for the tensions on their disputed border in the Himalayas, after a meeting of the defense ministers’ highest level since their forces clashed in June.
During their participation Friday in an international meeting in Moscow, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Feng and his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, exchanged accusations of provoking confrontations.
Chinese media quoted a source in Weifeng’s delegation that the defense minister said, “The relations between the armies of the two countries have been greatly damaged recently due to the problems on the borders, and it is very important to have a frank exchange of views on these issues.”
“The cause and the reality of the current tension at the border between China and India are very clear,” Wei Feng said, according to the source. “The responsibility rests entirely with India.”
He added that “the lands of China cannot be wasted,” calling on India to “consolidate its control over its forces on the front lines” and “refrain from any actions that may lead to an increase in the severity of the situation.”
For his part, Singh said after the meeting that they had “frank” talks about the dispute and strained relations between the two most populated countries in the world.
“The actions of the Chinese forces, including their large number of soldiers, their hostile behavior and their attempts unilaterally to change the situation, are a violation” of the agreements between the two neighboring countries, Singh said.
He continued: “India sought to settle the dispute through talks, but at the same time there should be no doubt in our determination to protect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Despite these statements, the Indian Ministry of Defense announced, on Saturday, an agreement with China to work to reduce tension along their disputed borders, after the Moscow meeting.
The Chinese-Indian border has witnessed a number of confrontations between the soldiers of the two countries since the clash of Ladakh region on June 15, which resulted in the death of 20 soldiers, according to India’s version, and China admitted that it suffered human losses without giving specific figures.
Since then, the two sides have strengthened their positions with tens of thousands of soldiers in this remote and rugged area, at an altitude of more than 4,000 metres