BEIJING (Reuters) - China is “positive” towards proposals to establish a military hotline with India to deal with issues along their disputed border, Defence Minister Chang Wanquan told his Indian counterpart during a meeting in Beijing, state media reported.
The two nuclear-armed neighbors have been moving to gradually ease long-existing tensions between them.
Leaders of Asia’s two giants pledged last May to cool a festering border dispute, which dates back to a brief border war in 1962, though a messy territorial disagreement remains.
Chang “reacted positively toward setting up a military hotline with India on border security”, state news agency Xinhua reported late on Monday, after Chang’s meeting with Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Chang “also suggested the two sides strengthen defense exchanges and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity of the border area”, the report added.
Xinhua cited Parrikar as saying India is ready to work with China to maintain the stability of the border.
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.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore