India and China have agreed to resolve a dispute over their shared border in the Ladakh region through “peaceful” diplomatic channels, according to the Indian foreign affairs ministry.
The statement on Friday came a day before top generals of the two countries are due to meet near the site of their border standoff to try and find a way to de-escalate the situation, which began when India accused Chinese troops of entering its territory three times in May.
Indian officials said both sides would first focus on getting both the Indian army and China’s People’s Liberation Army to pull back additional troops and equipment to their pre-May positions.
Soldiers from both countries have been camped out in the Galwan Valley in the high-altitude Ladakh region, and have swapped accusations of trespassing over the disputed border, the trigger of a brief but bloody war in 1962.
In all, China claims some 90,000sq km (34,750sq miles) of territory in India’s northeast. India says China occupies 38,000sq km (14,67sq miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin plateau in the western Himalayas, including part of the Ladakh region.
Senior officials of the two countries held a video conference and agreed that “the two sides should handle their differences through peaceful discussion” and should not allow them to become disputes, the foreign affairs ministry statement said.