China on Thursday expressed “firm opposition” against Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat’s remarks earlier this month about Beijing being the biggest security threat to India, The Hindu reported.

Addressing the monthly press conference of the Chinese defence ministry, Senior Colonel Wu Qian said that Rawat’s comments were “irresponsible and dangerous”, and that could “incite geopolitical confrontation”.

Wu, a spokesperson of Beijing’s defence ministry, added that China has lodged its “solemn representations” with India against Rawat’s comments. He said that the the comments violate the strategic guidelines of the leaders of the two countries, which hold that China and India do not constitute a threat to each other.

“The Chinese border troops are determined to safeguard national sovereignty and security,” the Hindustan Times quoted the spokesperson as saying. “At the same time, they are committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border area and make great efforts to ease and cool down the situation.”

Wu added that he hoped that China and India will “meet each other halfway” to maintain peace along the border.

At an event earlier this month, Rawat had said that China was the biggest security threat to India, and that the threat was “much bigger” than Pakistan, according to the Hindustan Times. To a query on whether China was the country’s number one enemy, the chief of defence staff had said that there was “no doubt” about it.

Military talks

India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June last year. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China put the number of casualties on its side at four.

After several rounds of talks, the two countries had disengaged from Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh in February. After the commander level talks on July 31, the two countries also agreed to disengage from Gogra.

Last month, the 13th round of military talks between India and China failed to achieve any breakthrough. The Indian Army said that India made constructive suggestions to resolve the tensions, but the Chinese side did not agree to them.