China violated Indian airspace - official

2012-05-02 16:10

New Delhi - China breached Indian airspace twice in March, a minister said Wednesday, adding the intrusions were reported to Beijing to "facilitate maintenance of peace" between the two Asian giants.

Chinese helicopters flew into Indian airspace on 16 and 19 March, Defence Minister AK Antony told parliament, specifying that on the first incident two aircraft illegally crossed the militarised border into India.

Both airspace violations occurred over India's mountainous Himachal Pradesh state, which shares part of its border with Tibet, the defence minister told parliament's upper house in a statement.

"Incidents of transgressions, intrusions are taken up with the Chinese side through established mechanisms such as hot lines, flag meetings, border personnel meetings and normal diplomatic channels," Antony said.

"These mechanisms facilitate maintenance of peace," the defence minister's statement said.

The disputed border between India and China has been the subject of 14 rounds of fruitless talks since 1962, when the two nations fought a brief but brutal war over the issue.

China claims all of the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as well as other areas in the north-western province of Kashmir.

Chinese military infrastructure build-up along the frontier has become a major source of concern for India, which increasingly sees Beijing as a longer-term threat to its security than traditional rival Pakistan.