India won't risk "friendship" with China over troop incursion

Featured India - April 26th, 2013

India’s foreign minister will visit China next month in a move to ease tensions between the world’s two most populous nations after Chinese troops allegedly crossed the disputed Himalayan border.

Salman Khurshid said it was “absurd” to risk its “friendship” with China in spite of mounting criticism from opposition parties over New Delhi’s conciliatory response to the alleged Chinese incursion.

“We can’t destroy years of investment in our relationship because something goes wrong,” Khurshid told a meeting of business leaders in New Delhi on Thursday.

Indian politicians and media have accued Beijing of testing “the will of their weaker southern neighbor” after reports said Chinese helicopters were sent across the Line of Actual Control, while India deployed unmanned drones. Hindustan Times carried the report Thursday with the headline “India sends out doves, China sends in chopper”.

Prakash Javadekar, spokesman for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, urged the Congress-led government to take the matter “seriously”.

An official suggested that India would have reacted more robustly to a similar incursion by Pakistani forces, reports Financial Times. “We would like the central government to take up this issue of incursion with both China and Pakistan strongly and on the same terms so that no such incident takes place in future,” said Omar Abdullah, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

Chinese troops reportedly crossed the de facto border in the Himalayas and erected camp on Indian territory, claims which Beijing denied.