NEWS

India-China Border Quieter Than Previous Years

Transgression by Chinese military along the border dips to record low.

06/02/2017 3:25 PM IST | Updated 06/02/2017 3:54 PM IST
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An Indian army convoy moves towards the border in Pangong, a disputed territory between India and China, on August 5, 2012 in Ladakh, Indian-administered Kashmir. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

Transgression along the 4,000-kilometre-long India-China border has dipped drastically in the last two years. Importantly, India has been able to construct an agricultural canal in the Demchok -- a disputed area -- in 2016 without objection from the Chinese. The construction was bitterly contested by the Chinese and had even led to a week long stand-off between the Chinese and Indian military.

Transgressions have dipped over 40 per cent as compared to last year and is 60 per cent lesser than year before last.

The India-China border has as many as a dozen spots which are accepted as "disputed" by both sides. The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is not physically demarcated on the ground or in military maps. In these patches China and India each have a different understanding of where the border lies. Each side, therefore sends out patrols to mark their respective claim leading to face-offs and stand-offs between the two militaries.

Top sources monitoring the border told HuffPost India that number of transgressions recorded in 2016 was 200 as compared to about 350 recorded in the previous year. In 2014-15 the number of transgression by the Chinese PLA was 500. The number of transgressions recorded in 2016 is comparable to 2010 - which saw one lowest number of border transgressions. The number of transgressions had steadily risen since 2010.

The India-China border runs across five states -- Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh -- and is often described as "the most disputed yet most peaceful border" of the world. Despite the transgressions and face-offs, not a single shot has been fired by either of the militaries in decades.

In 2013, the then UPA Government renegotiated a border management pact with Beijing -- Border Defence Agreement (BDCA). It carried forward many of the previous confidence building measures along border -- agreed to in 1993, 1996, 2005 and 2012. And, importantly in the 2013 agreement both sides agreed not tail each other's border patrols.

China expert and senior member of the National Security Council Advisory Board (NSAB), Lieutenant General S L Narasimhan (retd), told HuffPost India new technology allows ground troops to know about incoming Chinese PLA patrols.

"It allows us to prevent them from coming into areas which we consider ours."

General Narasimhan who now advises the Government on China after over four decades in the Indian Army also feels military reforms underway in China have also contributed to the relative calm along the border. "They would be busy with the reorganisation of the military than the border," he said.

In September 2015, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Indian Army demolished a Chinese military observation post in Southern Ladakh. Moreover, General Narasimhan said, India has adopted an aggressive posture.

"We are mobilising faster than earlier," all these perhaps have combined to make the borders calmer.

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