India's army chief expects China talks will solve Himalayan border crisis

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s army chief said on Tuesday he expected talks with China will lead to an amicable solution to the Himalayan border crisis which escalated after a fight in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed last year.

Military trucks are parked outside the storage facilities at a supply depot in Leh, in the Ladakh region, September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

General Manoj Mukund Naravane said Indian and Chinese troops were holding their positions, although Chinese troops had pulled back from some training areas on the adjacent Tibetan plateau.

“If the talks get prolonged, so be it,” he told reporters in an annual briefing on the situation in India’s Ladakh region, in the country’s northern tip.

“We are prepared to hold our ground where we are, for as long as it takes, to achieve our national goals and interests.”

Several rounds of talks have so far made little headway in deflating tensions over the disputed border.

Naravane said he expected another round of talks soon.

The nuclear-armed neighbours moved thousands of additional troops to the Ladakh area since the clash in June last year, the worst between India and China in more than four decades.

India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Tuesday that trust with China had been deeply impaired.

“After 45 years, you’ve actually had bloodshed on the border,” Jaishankar told the Reuters Next conference.

“And that’s had a huge impact on public opinion and politically. ...really the impact of trust and confidence in India where China and their relationship is concerned. That has been profoundly disturbed.”

Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Michael Perry