NEW DELHI: India said it was engaged with China to resolve the border issue, thereby somewhat hinting at a rejection of US President Donald Trump's offer to arbitrate between the two Asian giants in resolving their decades-old boundary dispute.
"We are engaged with the Chinese side to peacefully resolve it," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at an online media briefing on Thursday.
The MEA spokesperson did not reply to questions like whether the US had approached India with the offer, whether New Delhi has communicated its response over it to Washington or whether the Trump administration has been briefed about the current standoff between Chinese and Indian soldiers in eastern Ladakh, according to a news agency.
Trump had said yesterday that he was "ready, willing and able to mediate" between the two countries amidst the stand-off.
"We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute," Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday morning.
Asked about the situation in Eastern Ladakh, Srivastava said India is committed to the objective of maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas with Chinese and Indian armed forces scrupulously follow the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries on the matter.
"At the same time, we remain firm in our resolve to ensuring India''s sovereignty and national security," he said.
The MEA spokesperson said the Indian troops take a very responsible approach towards border management and strictly follow the procedure laid out in various bilateral agreements and protocols with China to resolve any issue that may arise in the border areas.
"The two sides have established mechanisms both at military and diplomatic levels to resolve situations which may arise in border areas peacefully through dialogue and continue to remain engaged through these channels," he said.
The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on the evening of May 5 which spilled over to the next day before the two sides agreed to "disengage" following a meeting at the level of local commanders. Over 100 Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in the violence.
The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9. It is learnt that both India and China are looking at a solution to the issue through talks.
(With agencies input)