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India,China sign landmark border defence agreement to maintain peace at LAC

Manmohan Singh and and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reached nine agreements in Beijing.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: March 14, 2014 11:11:03 am

In a landmark development,India and China on Wednesday signed Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) to maintain peace and tranquility on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

With the signing of the agreement,both the countries reached a comprehensive agreement to avoid border tensions and army face-offs along the LAC by deciding that neither side will use military capability to attack the other side nor tail patrols along the border.

Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reached nine agreements including one on trans-border rivers.

“The agreement on Border Defence,just signed between India and China will ensure peace and tranquility on our borders,” Singh said.

Border deal,a strategic benchmark

The deal comes against the backdrop of strain in ties following a series of Chinese intrusions including the prolonged one by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops in the Depsang valley in Ladakh in April this year.

In his remarks at the joint press interaction,Singh said the two countries agreed that peace and tranquillity on the borders must remain the foundation for growth in the India-China relationship,”even as we move forward the negotiations towards a fair,reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement to the India-China Boundary Question. This will be our strategic benchmark.”

No pact on visa liberalisation

All nine agreements were signed after restricted and delegation-level talks that lasted over two hours as Singh and Premier Li met for the second time this year for talks which the Indian leader described as “fruitful and productive”.

But as expected,there was no pact on liberalising the visa regime,which the Chinese side was very keen but India held back in the wake of the controversy over the stapled visas issued by the Chinese Embassy to two Indian archers from Arunachal Pradesh.

“When India and China shake hands,the world notices,” said Singh after talks with his Chinese counterpart.

The Prime Minister also expressed hope that China will help facilitate visits of Indian nationals to Beijing.

PM for enhancing mutual trust

“India and China resolve to realise full promise of their partnership and maintain the friendliest of relations,” PM said.

Singh,who arrived in Beijing to a warm reception on his three-day visit,met Keqiang after which the border pact was signed.

Prime Minister Singh said the relationships pursued by India and China with other countries must not become a source of concern for each other.

“This will be our strategic reassurance,” he said,adding “Accordingly,I suggested to Premier Li that we do things that enhance mutual trust,expanding common interest and deepen mutual understanding. I received his full support for this roadmap.”

Pact for not using force

The four-page BDCA,signed by Defence Secretary R K Mathur and PLA Deputy Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Sun Jianguo,with 10 clauses that seek to maintain peace,tranquillity and stability along the 4,000 km long the LAC reiterates that neither side shall use its military capability against the other side and that their respective military strengths shall not be used to attack the other side.

The BDCA recalled the spirit of the various agreements between the two countries on border management since 1993 and the establishment of a working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China Border Affairs signed in January,2012.

Li hails PM’s visit as landmark event

Chinese Premier Li hailed Singh’s visit to China as a “landmark” event in bilateral relations,which will inject new impetus to ties between the two countries.

He said the joint counter-terrorism exercise in Southwest China and maritime cooperation in regional and international areas were two good steps aimed at tackling terrorism.

Li also thanked India for successfully rescuing 17 Chinese ship crew members near waters off India’s eastern coastline earlier this month.

(With PTI inputs)

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