Crucial Indo-China border personnel meet held at Ladakh
The armies of India and China held a Border Personnel Meeting during which both sides resolved to maintain peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control, besides agreeing to work on additional confidence-building measures.
It was the first such meeting after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held an informal summit + last week in the central Chinese city of Wuhan during which they agreed to strengthen strategic communication between the two sides on security-related issues. The BPM took place in Chusul, Ladakh.
It was a ceremonial BPM and issues related to border management were discussed during the meeting, government sources said.
They said the deliberations focused on bringing down tension along the disputed borders and ways to bridge the trust deficit.
In their informal summit, Modi and Xi had decided to issue "strategic guidance" to their militaries + to strengthen communication and build trust and understanding between the border guarding forces of the two countries.
The decisions came months after Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a 73-day long standoff in Doklam.
The sources said the armies of India and China would undertake a series of measures to bring down tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de-facto boundary between the two countries.
They said building trust between the two sides would be a focus area and the measures being contemplated to bring down tension along the border include carrying out "coordinated patrols".
A senior Army official said under coordinated patrol, each side would provide advance information to the other side when a patrolling team goes to a disputed area.
They said both the sides will also try to resolve local incidents as per provision of a 2003 agreement to address boundary disputes.
Sources said both sides were also working on setting up a long-delayed hotline between the Indian Army's Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) and the Chinese officer holding a similar position.
The Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) took place on the occasion of Labour Day and troops as well as their families were part of the celebrations, the sources said.
They said both sides also exchanged gifts at Wacha border post in Kibithu, Arunachal Pradesh.
According to government data, the number of transgressions by the Chinese army into the Indian territory rose to 426 in 2017 from the 273 in 2016. India and China share a nearly 4,000 km-long border.
Troops of India and China were locked in the 73-day standoff in Doklam since June 16 last year after the Indian side stopped the construction of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam. The face-off ended on August 28.
The two sides hold BPM at five points - Daulat Beg Oldie in northern Ladakh, Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh, Chusul in Ladakh, Bum-La near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and Nathu-La in Sikkim.