India asks China to pull back troops in Ladakh

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In this 22 July 2011 file photo, children play cricket near Pangong Lake, near the India-China border in Ladakh, IndiaImage source, AP
Image caption,
Ladakh is high in the Himalayas in eastern Kashmir

India has asked China to withdraw troops it says have moved into disputed territory near the two countries' de facto border in the Himalayas.

The foreign ministry asked China to "maintain the status quo" that existed before the alleged incursion.

India says Chinese troops erected a camp on its side of the ill-defined frontier in Ladakh region last week.

China denies violating Indian territory. The two sides are holding talks to resolve the row.

"I would like to say we have all resolved all previous incidents peacefully and it is our hope that we would resolve this incident too peacefully," Indian foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr Akbaruddin said the Chinese ambassador in Delhi had been summoned to the foreign ministry on 15 April when India complained about China's actions.

An Indian official quoted by the Associated Press news agency said Chinese troops had strayed 10km (six miles) into Indian territory on 15 April and put up tents in the Depsang valley in Ladakh in eastern Kashmir.

China dismissed reports of the incursion on Monday as media speculation.

The two countries dispute several Himalayan border areas and fought a brief war in 1962. Tensions flare up from time to time.

They have held numerous rounds of border talks, but all have been unsuccessful so far.

The BBC's Soutik Biswas in Delhi says there has not been a single fatality in skirmishes along the undefined India-China boundary since 1967, but the memories of the crushing defeat inflicted by the Chinese on India in the 1962 war have not faded from the minds of some Indians.

The presence of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in the Indian hill town of Dharamsala is also a source of tension between the two nations.

But the Asian giants have much at stake and observers expect current tensions to be contained.

China is one of India's largest trading partners, with two-way trade volumes exceeding $65bn (£43bn) in 2012.

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