Why India Needs New Confidence-Building Measures To Clarify LTA Issue With China

Representative image of the Indian army in Ladakh | ANI file photo

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New Delhi: India believes that it is imperative to have a new set of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) as the Chinese failed to respect and implement the existing measures, which were spelled out in five border pacts signed between 1993 and 2012.

As tensions continue to escalate in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Effective Control (LAC), the decision to “conclude the new confidence-building measures to maintain and strengthen peace and tranquility in the border areas” was taken jointly at last week’s meeting between Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

However, any new CBM will need to be put in place as an “addition” to what is already listed in the five existing border agreements, sources in the Indian diplomatic community told ThePrint.

According to the sources, during the meeting between the two foreign ministers in Moscow, Jaishankar explained to Wang how Beijing violated the border agreements of 1993 and 1996 by assembling its troops with heavy equipment along the ALC. .

The presence of such a concentration of troops “was not in accordance with the 1993 and 1996 agreements and created hot spots along the LAC” and which the Chinese side did not give “an explanation credible to this deployment, ”sources said.

Some of the key agreements are as follows: in a confrontational situation neither side should use force or threaten to use force against the other; both parties must treat each other with courtesy and refrain from any act of provocation; neither party shall affix marks or signs on the points and also if border staff of both parties are face to face due to differences in the alignment of the effective line of control or for any other reason, they must exercise restraint and take all necessary measures to avoid an escalation of the situation.

“In the current stalemate, which has seen bloodshed for the first time since 1975, we have seen China violate each of these CBMs,” said a source, who declined to be identified. “For them, existing CBMs have no value. They must therefore be affirmed and reaffirmed.


Read also : Chinese envoy calls “win-win cooperation”, accuses India of illegally entering CLA


New CBMs Should Clarify Understanding of CLA, Experts Say

The five border pacts currently existing between the two countries are:

  • 1993 Agreement on the maintenance of peace and tranquility along the line of effective control in the Indo-Chinese border areas,
  • 1996 Agreement on confidence-building measures in the military field along the ALC,
  • 2005 Protocol on the modalities for the implementation of confidence-building measures in the military field along the LAC,
  • 2012 Agreement on the Establishment of a Working Mechanism of Consultation and Coordination on Indo-Chinese Border Affairs,
  • 2013 Border defense cooperation agreement.

In the 1996 accord, signed in New Delhi on November 29 of the same year, India and China pledged to reach a “common understanding of the alignment of the real line of control in the border areas. Indo-Chinese ”. The two sides also agreed to speed up the process of clarifying and confirming the LAC.

“This has remained an unfinished task and needs to be completed,” the source said.

Experts, however, say the new confidence-building measures, which will only be discussed once the current stalemate is eased, are not expected to limit India’s activities, especially the infrastructure-building exercise along of ALC.

“Although there is an elaborate architecture of CBM that has been put in place, there has been a failure in its implementation on the Chinese side,” said Ashok K. Kantha, director of the Institute of Chinese Studies. . “The five border pacts can always be revisited and refined, there is enough room for that but that should not limit our activities that we carry out at LAC. “

Kantha, a former Indian ambassador to China who worked on border covenants, added, “China has already made such attempts to limit our activities… They have an advantage in building infrastructure along CLA. We are also catching up quickly, but we still have a lot of work to do. “

He added that when negotiating the covenants, India should ensure that there is “clarification and confirmation” of the LAC and that the two sides should come to a “common understanding” on this issue and that troop patrols should be freely permitted.

According to Gautam Bambawale, a former Indian envoy to Beijing who also worked on border pacts, the most important CBM the Chinese have broken this time around is to bring in heavy troops near the ALC.

“First, the simple act of moving tens of thousands of troops to advanced areas is a violation. Second, disrupting the status quo ante is a violation. Third, the use of weapons is a violation, ”he said. “China has violated bilateral agreements for the maintenance of peace and tranquility in border areas. “

“India and China have put in place a number of agreements since then, creating CBM architecture meticulously over the years,” Bambawale added. The agreement has always been, since the two governments have discussed and signed it bilaterally, these agreements will be respected by both parties… Any new CBM would only be useful if China respects them and does not violate them at will. This lack of trust affects the entire Indo-Chinese relationship.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said on Monday that as a further development of bilateral ties, concluding work on the new confidence-building measures is the “way forward” and the “solution. is very clear “.


Read also : Keep Talking, Disengage Quickly, Keep Your Distance, Ease Tensions – Indo-Chinese Plan for LAC Peace


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