India hopeful of resolving border issue with China

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The India-China border continues to remain peaceful and New Delhi is hopeful of peacefully resolving the issue of an alleged incursion by Chinese troops in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, the external affairs ministry said Tuesday.

“Overall, India-China border area continues to remain peaceful. Similar incidents in the past have been resolved peacefully and we hope to resolve this incident too peacefully,” ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters here.

He said India believed that the ongoing incident could be handled on the basis of agreements between the two countries and two mechanism established under them.

According to reports, Chinese troops allegedly intruded 10 km into the Indian territory in Ladakh and set up a tented post there. The Indian Army is also reported to have moved in more troops in the region. Beijing has denied any incursion across the Line of Actual Control, which is a notional line.

“The ongoing incident refers to the western sector of the India-China boundary and we see this as a face to face situation between border personnel of two sides due to differences on their alignment of the Line of Actual Control (LAC),” he said.

“We therefore asked the Chinese side to maintain status quo in this sector and by this we mean status quo prior to this incident,” he said.

Explaining the technicalities of agreement, Akbaruddin said: “Now the term face to face situation is not something that we have conjured up it is something that is referred to the 2005 protocol to the implementation of CBMs (confidence building measures) in the military field along the LAC.”

“Article 4 of the protocol says that if the border personnel of the two sides come to a face to face situation on the alignment of the LAC, they shall exercise self-restraint and take all necessary steps to avoid an escalation of the situation,” he said.

“And then there are a whole listing of procedures that need to be followed and when we say face to face this is what we are referring to,” he said.

“The ongoing incident is a localised event, this a sector in which there are differing perceptions of LAC and that is why we have since 1996 been maintaining that there is a need for both sides to work together in clarifying and confirming the LAC,” he said.

Listing out steps taken by India after the incident was reported April 15, Akbaruddin said: “This came to note on April 15 and April 16, Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary East Asia, who chairs working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China border affairs spoke to his counterpart who is director general border affairs of the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs.”

“Subsequently on April 18, there was a flag meeting following that on April 18, the foreign secretary expressed the concerns of the government of India to the ambassador of China in Delhi,” he said.

He said a flag meeting was also held Tuesday to discuss the matter.

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