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India, China to sign border defence pact during PM’s visit to Beijing

PTI
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A file photo of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Chinese President Xi Jinpeng
A file photo of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Chinese President Xi Jinpeng

India and China will sign a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit next week under which no tailing of each other’s patrols and no shooting at each other under any conditions by troops have been provided.

The BDCA was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security yesterday as part of further CBMs to avoid incidents along the Line of Actual Control which has seen many intrusions from the Chinese side, especially the long face-off during summer in Depsang Valley of Ladakh.

The BDCA also provides for setting up of a hotline between the DGMOs of the two countries on the lines of the mechanism India has with Pakistan.

The sources said the issue is yet to be formalised with Beijing which has maintained that China does not have the institution of Director General of Military Operations.

“We are trying to do it. We hope we will do (the agreement on) three and four,” official sources said on the likelihood of signing an agreement in regard to the two new reactors being set up in the Russian-aided project during Singh’s visit.

On the China visit, the sources said Beijing wants a stable, strong and mutually beneficial relationship with India and both want peace and tranquillity on the border.

The prime minister will be hosted a dinner by the new President Xi Jinpeng, a rare gesture being made probably for the first time after what was offered to the late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1954.

Singh will have a meeting with his counter Li Keqiang when India is likely to talk about steps for additional Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in place to maintain peace on the border.

“We want People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to be involved in the process,” the sources said.

On the boundary question, the two countries have agreed on a framework agreement which is a three-step progress. “We have made some progress on the framework agreement.”

Over time, India has agreed with China that respect of Line of Actual Control, status quo and mutually and equal security should govern the bilateral relations.

On water dispute, India believes that China was not impounding water in the Brahmaputra.

On the signing of the BDCA during the visit, the sources said “we are trying to get the agreement signed.”

India and China have held several discussions on the BDCA in the past but after the intrusion by Chinese troops in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir in April, movement on the proposed pact gathered steam.

During Defence Minister A.K Antony’s recent visit to China, the two sides had agreed to conclude negotiations on the pact at an early date.

Following Antony’s talks with Chinese leaders, the two sides agreed on a slew of confidence building measures, including having greater frequency of meetings along the border and increased exchange of visits of both young and senior armed forces officials.

India and China have also agreed to hold their Army-to-Army exercise next month in China’s Chengdu military region.

The two countries have also agreed to further strengthen the existing agreements and protocols and emphasised the importance of enhancing mutual trust and understanding between the two militaries for maintaining peace and tranquillity along the border.

(This article was published on October 18, 2013)
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