India, China militaries hold talks on disputed border: sources

India, China militaries hold talks on disputed border: sources
In this photograph taken on July 10, 2008 a Chinese soldier (L) and an Indian soldier stand guard at the Chinese side of the ancient Nathu La border crossing between India and China.

NEW DELHI - Indian and Chinese military officers began talks Thursday on a remote part of their disputed border, where troops have been engaged in a stand-off, Indian defence ministry sources told AFP.

Hundreds of Chinese troops moved into territory claimed by India ahead of a visit by China's President Xi Jinping last week, sparking a stand-off on the remote mountainous frontier that has now lasted more than a week.

"A flag meeting is under way," said a defence ministry source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We are very positive the issue will be resolved soon as it is being taken up by the highest authorities. We want the status quo to be restored in Chumar." The sources said construction by both sides had triggered the stand-off in the Chumar area of the far-flung Indian region of Ladakh.

"We had objections to a road that they were making. They had objections to an observation post that our men set up earlier this month," said one defence ministry source.

The two countries have long been embroiled in a bitter territorial dispute and small incursions occur frequently across the Line of Actual Control, the de-facto border that runs 4,000 kilometres (2,500 miles) across Ladakh.

But the number of troops involved and the timing of last week's incident raised alarm bells, and led India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raise the issue with the visiting Chinese president.

In a joint statement last Friday, the two leaders reiterated their commitment to seek a "fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution" to the festering boundary issue.

"Pending a final resolution of the boundary question, the two sides would continue to make joint efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas," they said.

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