India is urged to work constructively toward better peace and stability along border areas with China, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday in response to comments by India's army chief of staff.
Chief of Staff General Bipin Rawat said in New Delhi on Friday that the time has come for India to shift the focus to its northern border and that India was capable of handling China's "assertiveness" there.
Rawat was quoted by Press Trust of India as saying that China may be powerful, but India is not a weak nation and won't allow its territory to be intruded upon by any country.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China and India are at a critical period of development and rejuvenation and should strengthen communication and cooperation while moving away from distrust.
China-India relations underwent twists and turns in 2017 and leaders of the two nations since reached consensus during the BRICS Summit in September, establishing how to properly manage differences and build healthy and stable ties, Lu said. Ties have been improving since concluding dialogues and consultations, he said.
The comments by a high-ranking military officer were not constructive, and they didn't comply with the consensus reached by the leaders of both countries nor with the endeavors to improve relations, Lu said. The comments do not help safeguard peace along the border areas.
Lu also urged India not to do anything that will further complicate the situation, a stance in line with the region's common interests and India's self-interest.
In his comments, Rawat also said Donglang belongs to China, which once again demonstrated that India illegally crossed the border last year into Donglang, Tibet autonomous region, the spokesman said.
"We demand that the Indian Army should learn lessons and adhere to historical border conventions to ensure peace and stability along the border" Lu added.
Rawat's remarks could be aimed at ensuring military budgets from the Indian government, said Hu Shisheng, a researcher of South Asian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. However, his comments obviously went against what President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had agreed to last year, he said.