BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday that it hoped India could put more efforts into regional peace and stability rather than the opposite, in response to Indian plans to put advanced cruise missiles along the disputed border with China.
Indian military officials say the plan is to equip regiments deployed on the China border with the BrahMos missile, made by an Indo-Russian joint venture, as part of ongoing efforts to build up military and civilian infrastructure capabilities there.
The two nuclear-armed neighbors have been moving to gradually ease long-existing tensions between them.
Leaders of Asia’s two giants pledged last year to cool a festering border dispute, which dates back to a brief border war in 1962, though the disagreement remains unresolved.
Asked about the missile plans at a monthly news briefing, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said maintaining peace and stability in the border region was an “important consensus” reached by both countries.
“We hope that the Indian side can do more to benefit peace and stability along the border and in the region, rather than the opposite,” Wu said, without elaborating.
China lays claim to more than 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles) ruled by New Delhi in the eastern sector of the Himalayas. India says China occupies 38,000 sq km (14,600 sq miles) of its territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the west.
India is also suspicious of China’s support for its arch-rival, Pakistan.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping when he visits China next month to attend the G20 summit.
Modi’s government has ordered BrahMos Aerospace, which produces the missiles, to accelerate sales to a list of five countries topped by Vietnam, according to a government note viewed by Reuters and previously unreported.
Modi visits Vietnam, which is embroiled in a dispute over the South China Sea with Beijing, before arriving in China.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore