UPDATE 1-India army chief says talks can resolve border row with China

NEW DELHI, Sept 4- India’s army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said on Friday he was confident the ongoing border stand-off with China could be resolved through talks, even as thousands of troops remained amassed along a disputed Western Himalayan region. India accuses China of violating bilateral agreements by pushing its troops through the Line of…

By Devjyot Ghoshal

NEW DELHI, Sept 4 (Reuters) – India’s army chief GeneralManoj Mukund Naravane said on Friday he was confident theongoing border stand-off with China could be resolved throughtalks, even as thousands of troops remained amassed along adisputed Western Himalayan region.

“We are sure that the problem can be resolved fully throughtalks,” Naravane told Reuters partner ANI during a visit to theLadakh region, where troops from the two nuclear-armed countrieshave been squaring off for months.

India accuses China of violating bilateral agreements bypushing its troops through the Line of Control (LAC), thede-facto border, in the snow deserts of Ladakh.

“The situation along the LAC is slightly tense,” Naravanesaid, adding that India had deployed additional troops in someareas to stall any attempted Chinese incursions.

China, however, has blamed India of trespassing the LAC latelast month, saying the “move has grossly violated China’sterritorial sovereignty,” according to a Chinese embassyspokesperson in New Delhi.

But both countries have repeatedly reiterated that they arekeen on talks to resolve the process, with military officialsmeeting for several days this week south of Ladakh’s Pangong Tsolake, where the latest flare-up occurred over the weekend.

Indian and Chinese media on Friday reported a possiblemeeting between the defence ministers of both countries inMoscow, where they are attending a Shanghai CooperationOrganisation gathering.

“Based on what I know, this arrangement between the twosides has made progress. The meeting between Wei Fenghe andRajnath Singh has a big probability to be held,” Hu Xijin,editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times newspaper said onTwitter, naming the two defence ministers.

A spokesman for India’s defence ministry said he had noinformation on a likely meeting, which would be the firstface-to-face talks between senior Indian and Chinese officialssince the stand-off intensified after a clash between troops inJune.

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in brutal hand-to-handfighting in Ladakh’s Galwan valley on June 15, with the Chineseside also suffering an undisclosed number of casualties.(Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani andMichael Perry)

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