China on Monday issued its strongest warning yet to India over their month-long border dispute, saying Beijing would protect its sovereignty "at all costs".
Observers believe that China's stepping up of its rhetoric, which came before a high-level security meeting that involves both Chinese and Indian security officials, gives Beijing more bargaining power in the talks with New Delhi.
Defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian also said that China planned to strengthen its "targeted deployment and exercises" along the disputed border, and that India should "have no illusions" about its military's capabilities or commitment.
Wu's comments came just a week after state broadcaster CCTV reported that Chinese troops had taken part in a military exercise using live ammunition on the Tibetan Plateau.
The location was not far from Doklam, where Chinese and Indian forces remain locked in a stand-off sparked by a road construction project in a disputed border area shared with Bhutan.
Speaking just a week ahead of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the PLA, Wu said: "We urge the Indian side not to take any chances or hold any illusions." He added that China had strengthened its capabilities in safeguarding its national sovereignty over the past 90 years. "It's easier to shake a mountain than to shake the PLA," he said.