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India China agree on 5-point action plan

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

India, China agree on 5-point action plan:


Context:

India and China have agreed on a five-point course of action to disengage and reduce tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The five-point plan is:

  1. following the consensus between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping to “not allow differences to become disputes”.
  2. disengaging quickly to ease tensions.
  3. abiding by the existing India-China border protocols and avoiding escalatory action.
  4. continuing the dialogue between the Special Representatives, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Mr. Wang, as well as the other mechanisms.
  5. working towards new confidence-building measures (CBMs).

What are the immediate challenges? What has not been addressed so far?

  1. Nothing has been spoken about returning to the “status quo ante” or positions prior to the stand-off in April.
  2. India has also not categorically called on China to retreat from positions it has aggressed on at Pangong Tso, Depsang and other parts of the LAC.

What needs to be done both by India and China?

  • The immediate task is to ensure a comprehensive disengagement of troops in all the friction areas. That is necessary to prevent any untoward incident in the future.
  • The final disposition of the troop deployment to their permanent posts and the phasing of the process is to be worked out by the military commanders.

Why do face-offs occur?

They mainly occur in areas along the LAC. The LAC has never been demarcated.

  • Differing perceptions are particularly acute in around two dozen spots across the Western (Ladakh), Middle (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), Sikkim, and Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) sectors of the India-China border.
  • Face-offs occur when patrols encounter each other in the contested zones between overlapping claim lines.
  • Protocols agreed to in 2005 and 2013 detail rules of engagement to prevent such incidents, but have not always been adhered to.

Why has not the LAC been clarified?

India has long proposed an exercise to clarify differing perceptions of the LAC to prevent such incidents. Maps were exchanged in the Middle Sector, but the exercise fell through in the Western Sector where divergence is the greatest.

  • China has since rejected this exercise, viewing it as adding another complication to the on-going boundary negotiations.
  • India’s argument is rather than agree on one LAC, the exercise could help both sides understand the claims of the other, paving the way to regulate activities in contested areas until a final settlement of the boundary dispute.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is LoC and how is it established, geographical extent and significance?
  2. What is LAC?
  3. Where is Nathu la?
  4. Where is Pangong Tso?
  5. Who administers Akashi Chin?
  6. Where is Naku La?
  7. Who controls what in Pangong Tso lake region?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Pangong Tso for India and China.

Sources: the Hindu.