Indian foreign minister will visit China amid reports of resolution of border standoff

NEW DELHI (AP) - India announced on Monday that its foreign minister will visit China this week as local media reported the two Asian giants have agreed to end a three-week stand-off over their disputed Himalayan border.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will hold discussions in Beijing on Thursday, an Indian foreign ministry statement said. The trip comes ahead of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's scheduled visit to India later this month.

The crisis began when New Delhi accused Chinese troops of crossing the de facto border between the countries and infiltrating into Indian territory on April 15.

About 50 Chinese soldiers pitched tents and were camping in Depsang valley in the Ladakh region of eastern Kashmir, according to India.

China dismissed the reports of an incursion, saying its troops were in Chinese territory, on their side of the Line of Actual Control that serves as the de facto border.

As tensions rose, India moved soldiers into the disputed area in Ladakh so that the two sides were in a face-off just 300 metres apart across the barren terrain.

Local army commanders from both sides held a series of meetings to resolve the crisis. India's foreign secretary called in the Chinese ambassador to register a strong protest, while top officials conferred with their counterparts in Beijing and New Delhi.

Indian newspapers reported that over the weekend, Indian and Chinese army commanders held two meetings in which they agreed on a simultaneous withdrawal of troops to their original positions and the removal of tents erected in the disputed area.

In New Delhi, External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said the governments agreed to pull their troops back to positions they held prior to the current stand-off.

India and China - neighbours with more than 1 billion people each - have had chilly relations since they fought a brief border war in 1962.

India says China is occupying 38,000 square kilometers of territory in the Aksai Chin plateau in the western Himalayas, while China claims around 90,000 square kilometers of land in India's north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The two have held 15 unsuccessful rounds of talks to resolve the border dispute.