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India,China set to ink border pact during PM visit

Visa agreement not to come up; more military visits to take place.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: October 18, 2013 1:48:57 am

India and China are set to ink a border pact to avoid faceoffs between the two armies on the disputed boundary and increase bilateral visit to bolster confidence during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Beijing next week.

While a few issues in the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) still need to be resolved,sources said that a the pact is likely to be finalised and signed during the visit. As reported,the pact is aimed at avoiding faceoff situations on the border like the incident in Ladakh’s Depsang plains earlier this year.

Among other measures,the pact is likely to define two additional points on the border where the two armies can meet and talk about violations or disagreements that crop up during patrolling. The agreement is also aimed at restricting the current practice of tailing of patrol units that is carried out by both sides on disputed territory,sometimes leading to potentially volatile situations.

The pact will be an incremental step in managing border-related issues,with the last one that spelled out standard operations procedures was inked in 2005. Before that an agreement on maintenance of peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was signed in 1993 as well as a pact on confidence building measures in the military field was signed in 1996.

The two sides are also likely to identify more avenues for interactions between the two armies,including increased personnel exchange to build confidence on military issues. These confidence building measure will be discussed by the Prime Minister with his counterparts in China,sources said. Besides the border pact,India will raise the increasing strategic collaboration between China and Pakistan that has become a matter of concern.

The Indian side is likely to convey its concern on the increasing involvement of the Chinese in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) where Beijing has embarked on a variety of infrastructure projects,some even suspected to be military in nature.

The recent civil nuclear deal between the two nations is also a matter on which concern will be raised.

While an agreement on liberalising the visa regime could not be worked out in time for the visit,the two sides will discuss the global economic situation,specially the recent scare after the US government shut down. Future steps on how to tackle such situations as well as new trade arrangements to correct the bilateral trade deficit will also be discussed. A meeting of a CEOs forum represented by senior business leaders from both nations is also set to take place at the sidelines of the visit.

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