A hawkish Chinese military official, on Thursday, warned India against provoking “new trouble” along the disputed border between the two countries, ahead of visits to Beijing by India’s Defense Minister A.K. Antony and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“The Indian side should not provoke new problems and increase military deployment at the border areas and stir up new trouble,” Major General Luo Yuan, the deputy-director general of a military research department, told reporters in Beijing, Agence France-Presse reported.
“India is the only country in the world that says that it is developing its military power because of China's military threat,” Luo said, adding: “So I believe that India should be very cautious in what it does and what it says.”
However, China played down Luo’s statement, saying his remarks did not reflect China’s official view, and that Beijing looked forward to Antony’s visit.
Beijing, on Thursday, welcomed both Antony and Pakistan's Sharif, whose visits inadvertently coincided, and is being projected in China as a “rare diplomatic tango,” according to Press Trust of India.
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Antony’s four-day visit, the first by an Indian defense minister in seven years, follows skirmishes in April and May, along the Himalayan border shared by India and China.
Antony and his Chinese counterpart, General Chang Wanquan, are expected to discuss “a number of issues, including those related to maintenance of peace and tranquility on the border... and matters relating to regional and global security,” India’s defense ministry said, in a statement.
New Delhi, in April, accused Chinese troops of intruding nearly 12 miles into Indian territory, prompting a three-week standoff, which was resolved after talks between military commanders in the area, and a withdrawal of troops from both sides.
Relations between the two countries improved following a visit to India, in May, by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Meanwhile, Sharif, who met with Li on Friday, said the relationship between Pakistan and China was “higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the deepest sea in the world, and sweeter than honey,” AFP reported.
On Thursday, Sharif, who is battling economic slowdown, inflation and an energy crisis back home, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as the two countries aim to increase bilateral trade to $15 billion over the next three years, from a current trade volume worth $12 billion.