The occasion was the 59th National Day of China on Wednesday, Oct 1, when the Chinese border troops opposite the Kameng Sector, invited their Indian counterparts to join their celebrations near Bum La in Arunachal's Tawang district. Border Personnel Meetings (BPMs) at Bum La are unique to the forces of the two emerging Asian giants along the Sino-India border. ''It is a vital platform for resolving local issues with a view to enhancing peace and tranquility in the Sector,'' said Brigadier Ashok Ambre, who led the Indian delegation.
In the entire Sino-Indian border, such BPM take place only in Bum La and Nathu La of Sikkim. Interactions started initially with flag meetings and later transformed into the BPMs since May 1999. ''Since then it has become a regular event here,'' he said.
The last meeting, at the ''Maitrey Sthal'' on August 15, was hosted by the Indian Army. It contributed significantly in further cementing mutual trust, confidence and friendship between the two countries.
''The Chinese have been reciprocating by inviting the Indians every year on their National Day,'' he said.
This year the celebrations commenced with Chinese Delegation Leader Col Zheng Shu Seng welcoming the Indian Delegation Leader at the ''Heap of Stones'' in Bum La.
This was followed by flag hoisting by the Chinese. The delegations interacted with an aim of furthering the growing trust and confidence between the two great nations. Both sides once again reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen friendship and maintain peace and tranquility along the border, Mr Ambre said.
Families also accompany for this event. A programme was organised by the Chinese which depicted the rich cultural heritage of the country to all the Indian visitors.
The Indian delegation was treated to a wide array of Chinese delicacies and gifts were exchanged. Several toasts were raised in each others' honour and prosperity. The most popular among them was the exchange of currencies between the Indian and Chinese soldiers.
India have permanent defence installations right up to the border. On the other hand the Chinese ''Lee camp'' is deep interior and hence they set up a temporary structure for the function.