New border defence pact between India, China on anvil

After incursions by Chinese troops into India, countries are working to conclude new border defence agreement with aim of signing it when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travels to Beijing in October.

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of recent incursions by Chinese troops into India, the two countries are working to conclude a new border defence agreement with an aim of signing it when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travels to Beijing possibly in October.
The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) proposes prevention of face-offs between the troops of the two countries along the over 4,000 km disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The agreement was proposed by the Chinese side in January and is under negotiation against the backdrop of a spate of incursions by the troops of the People`s Liberation Army into the Indian territory.

The proposed pact may be signed during the visit of the Prime Minister to Beijing likely to take place in October, Defence Ministry sources told.

Sources said a team comprising officials of the Defence and other Ministries along with military officials is scheduled to visit China next month to discuss the proposal.

China had proposed freezing of infrastructure development along the border under the new pact but it was rejected by India.

Sources said the proposed pact would be "comprehensive" encompassing some of the protocols and agreements signed by the two countries in the past.

Other proposals made under the pact include non-tailing of troops if noticed during patrolling along the disputed Line of Actual Control and to not fire at each other under any condition.

India and China have held several discussions on the BDCA
during the recent past but after incursion by Chinese troops in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir in April, the movement on the proposed act had increased.

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

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

India and China have also agreed to resume their Army-to-Army exercise to be held in China in October this year in the Chengdu military region.

A team of military officials from India will also visit China in the last week of the month to finalise the details of the bilateral exercise between the two sides along with discussing the prospects of holding exercises between their navies and air forces.

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