India, China to hold dialogue to prevent border face-offs

NEW DELHI :  India and China will hold a two-day meeting beginning from next Thursday to discuss the measures to prevent the recurrence of Chumar-like face-offs between the armies of the two countries.
Top officials of the foreign offices of the two countries will discuss various measures that may help prevent the problem of incursions on the 4,000 km long unsettled boundary, official sources said.
The dialogue will be held under the framework of ‘Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC)’.
The Indian side at the WMCC meet will be led by joint secretary (East Asia) in the External Affairs ministry. Representatives of the Ministries of External Affairs, Defence and Home Affairs as well as members of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police will also be part of the Indian delegation, the sources said.
Last such meeting, which was fourth in the series, was held in Beijing, while the 3rd meeting of working mechanism was hosted by India in New Delhi.
The two sides are likely to review the recent developments in the India-China border areas, especially the Chumar and Demchok face-offs, with objective of enhancing peace and tranquility between the two countries.
The discussion over additional confidence building measures between the two sides and measures to improve the functioning of the Working Mechanism and to make it more efficient would form part of the agenda.
In Chumar and Demchok regions of Ladakh, armies of the sides remained locked in eye-ball-to-eye-ball situation for more than 20 days, before disengaging and pulling back to restore the status quo ante as it existed on September 1.     Both India and China are slated to hold the joint military training exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand’ next month.    The two countries had agreed to hold the fourth joint army training this year and navy and air force joint exercise at a ‘proper time’.
On conclusion of Chinese President’s Xi Jinping visit, both sides had reaffirmed the utility and significance of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs for handling border related matters.    The agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the Boundary Question signed in April 2005, was also underlined by the political leadership of the two countries.
Significantly, India and China are also set to hold the first round of maritime cooperation dialogue within this year. Sources said the two sides will exchange views on maritime affairs and security, including anti-piracy, freedom of navigation and cooperation between maritime agencies of both countries in the proposed dialogue.
The efficacy of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), which was signed last year and failed its first test on the ground level,is likely to be reviewed in the upcoming meeting of the working mechanism, the sources added. (AGENCIES)


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