China has flexed its military muscle amid fresh tensions with India, despite the two nations agreeing to “peacefully resolve” a long-running feud over its border.
A statement on Sunday from India’s foreign ministry suggested recent conflict over the two nations’ disputed 3,500 km frontier, known as the Line of Actual Control, was under control.
However, Chinese state media broadcast footage and imagery of its military being mobilised over the issue.
Troops were seen boarding planes and trains on state television station CCTV, with army personnel boasting of new capabilities to deploy troops in “just a few hours”, the South China Morning Post reported.
State-publication The Global Times claimed the military drill was directly linked with the border tensions.
The same publication questioned whether Australia’s recent agreement to a strategic partnership with India, including defence, was an effort to counter China amid deteriorating relations.
“Whereas this accord is set against the backdrop of escalating border tensions between China and India, this intensifies friction between Beijing and Canberra,” it claimed.
On Tuesday, CCTV’s military channel shared footage on its Weibo account of an artillery drill where missiles were fired into mountain sides in Anhui province, in eastern China.
“The exercises focused on tactical operations such as reconnaissance and guidance, firepower coordination, and precision strikes, and comprehensively tested the multi-firearm and multi-projectile damage effectiveness of artillery units in strange areas,” it said.
There have been numerous face-offs and skirmishes between Chinese and Indian soldiers at the frontier, but they have become more frequent in recent years. Both nations have accused the other of encroaching on their territory.
On May 9, several Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in a high-altitude cross-border clash involving fists and stone-throwing in Sikkim state.
Indian officials said that within days, Chinese troops encroached over the demarcation line in the Ladakh region, further to the west.
India moved extra troops to positions opposite.
Talks bring agreement to ‘avoid escalation’
Talks on Sunday, which took place in the Chushul-Moldo region between two high-ranking commanders, is believed to be the highest-level meeting since the Sikkim exchange.
"Both sides agreed to peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements," India’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday that leaders had agreed to “avoid escalation”.
“Currently the overall situation in the border area is stable and controllable. Both sides have the willingness and capability to properly resolve the related matters through negotiation and consultation,” she said.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have sought to ease the tensions at summits over the past two years when they agreed to boost border communications between their militaries.
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