India and China sign border pact, 8 other agreements
India and China on Wednesday reached a comprehensive agreement to avoid border tensions and army face-offs along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by deciding that neither side will use military capability against the other nor tail patrols along the border.
The agreement comes against the backdrop of strain in ties between the two Asian giants following a three-week intrusion by Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Depsang sector in April.
In all nine agreements, including the BDCA and one on strengthening cooperation on trans-border rivers, were signed after restricted and delegation-level talks that lasted over two hours. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met for the second time this year, which Singh described as “fruitful and productive”.
As expected, there was no pact on liberalising the visa regime. While the Chinese side was very keen on this issue, India held back in the wake of a controversy over the stapled visas issued by the Chinese Embassy to two Indian archers from Arunachal Pradesh.
The two leaders told the media that the fact that they met twice in a single calendar year, the first since 1954, reflected the significance of the strategic relationship between the two countries.
The four-page BDCA was signed by defence secretary R K Mathur and PLA deputy chief of general staff Lt Gen Sun Jianguo. It has 10 clauses that seek to maintain peace, tranquility and stability along the 4,000 km-long LAC. It says 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 two sides may consider establishing a hotline between the military headquarters to facilitate communication at the highest level of the two militaries in times of crisis.
In his remarks at the joint press interaction, Singh said the two countries agreed that peace and tranquility 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.”
This is the fourth confidence-building agreement signed by the two countries since 1993 and will attempt to quieten a border that has seen renewed tensions since 2009.
China claims around 90,000 square km of land in Arunachal Pradesh, while India says China is occupying 38,000 square km of territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the western Himalayas.
Highlights of India-China joint statement :-
What Chinese premier Li Keqiang said –
• Express sympathies for the death and loss caused due to cyclone Phailin.
• Like to pay high tribute to the enormous economic and social progress made under the leadership of Manmohan.
• I also appreciate the efforts made by Manmohan Singh to better ties between China and India.
• I chose India as my first overseas destination after becoming the Chinese Premier.
• We have just had frank, sincere talks with India and have signed agreements in various fields.
• We discussed ways to boost political relations and mutual cooperation.
• Both sides have agreed to maintain high level visits.
• We have signed the border agreement, and we hope to maintain peace, tranquility and stability in border areas.
• Two sides have also agreed to hold counter terrorism training in China as well as work together to tackle terror.
• In the area of trade, we have agreed to make full use of existing mechanisms.
• Will also help India to set up industrial zones in the country as well as work on the India-Bangladesh-Myanmar-China corridor.
What PM Manmohan Singh said:
• Delighted to be in Beijing once again at the invitation of Li Keqiang.
• Li and I have just concluded a very productive round of talks.
• We have agreed that prosperity and progress of Indian and Chinese people will be a major factor of global prosperity.
• We have agreed peace and tranquility must be the foundation of growth for both sides. This will be our strategic benchmark.
• The border defence pact that we have just signed will add to existing agreements to ensure peace on our borders.
• Determined to inject new dynamism in our economic cooperation.
• India-China CEOs forum was also meeting in Beijing in China while I had talks with Li.
• I hope that China will help facilitate visits of Indian nationals to China.
• Agreements and MoUs signed today in various areas – defence, road transport, trans-border rivers, power will build on our cooperation.
• When India and China shake hands, the world notices.
• I look forward to my other engagements with the Chinese leadership.