India says China hindered Indian border patrols in latest flare-up

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India said on Thursday that Chinese troops had stood in the way of regular Indian patrols along their disputed border in flare-ups at two locations this month and called for stability on the front line.

The two countries have in recent years taken steps to build confidence between their militaries while expanding commercial ties. But the border remains an unresolved issue over which they went to war in 1962 and tensions erupt sometimes.

Troops briefly skirmished nearly the eastern Indian state of Sikkim earlier this month and have also been locked in a weeks-long face-off in the Galwan region in the western Himalayas.

Indian soldiers had stuck to their side of the Line of Actual Control that divides the two armies, foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said, blaming China for the latest row.

“All Indian activities are entirely on the Indian side of the LAC. In fact, it is Chinese side that has recently undertaken activity hindering India’s normal patrolling patterns,” he said in a statement.

China has not commented directly on the heightened tensions along the mountain border, but it noted that its troops have consistently maintained peace and tranquillity in the area.

But the state-controlled Global Times said Indian troops had been trespassing on Chinese territory and even trying to erect illegal defence facilities since the beginning of May. China has bolstered border controls in response to Indian provocations in the Galwan Valley, it said.

Neither side has provided details of the latest border row. Indian media reports say both sides have deployed additional troops in the Galwan sector.

Foreign ministry spokesman Srivastava said India was committed to resolving border disputes through talks.

“The two sides have established mechanisms to resolve such situations peacefully through dialogue. Both sides remain engaged with each other to address any immediate issues.”

Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Giles Elgood