India and China have agreed to peacefully resolve a simmering border dispute between the world’s two most populous nations, officials in New Delhi said.
Tensions between the two countries rose after India claimed that Chinese forces had moved into a disputed section of their shared Himalayan border. Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh told CNN affiliate News 18 that a “significant number” of Chinese troops had moved to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries. The LAC was established in 1993 as part of an attempt to mark out a long stretch of border between the two countries, but its precise location can be blurry. There are still disputes between China and India as to where one country ends and the other begins.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs released a statement on Sunday which said that military leaders from both countries met in an effort to diffuse tensions.
The meeting took place in a “cordial and positive atmosphere” and the two sides agreed to “peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas,” the statement said.
India and China share one of the world’s longest land borders, where conflict has intermittently broken out since a bloody border war in 1962.
Last month, an aggressive cross-border skirmish between Chinese and Indian forces resulted in minor injuries to troops. The incident has been followed in recent weeks by unconfirmed reports of tensions in the mountainous area, though neither side had publicly acknowledged anything out of the ordinary.
Sunday’s release from Indian authorities said both countries agreed to “continue the military and diplomatic engagements” to “ensure peace and tranquility” in the border areas.
The last time border tensions ran high was in 2017 when troops massed in and around the disputed Doklam plateau, a thin strip of land at the tri-junction between India, China and Bhutan. Though not a part of Indian territory, the area is close to the “chicken’s neck,” a strategic corridor that serves as a vital artery between Delhi and its far northeastern states.
Bhutan accused China of constructing a road inside its territory, which Beijing denied. India then stepped in to support Bhutan’s claims, leading to a months-long standoff, which included live-fire drills by the People’s Liberation Army on the border.
CNN’s Vedika Sud in New Delhi contributed to this report