India raises Leh incursions with China
Ways to ensure peace on LAC discussed
NEW DELHI, July 23: India and China today discussed ways to ensure peace and tranquillity along the border in the backdrop of recent Chinese incursions during a meeting here, the first since the three-week “face-to-face” standoff in April at Depsang Valley near LAC in Ladakh. India is understood to have raised these incursions and their impact but there was no official confirmation for the same. The two-day meeting under working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China border affairs also “discussed all issues since the last meet in November”, sources said. “The meeting deals with all issues of peace and tranquillity on the border…. However, this meeting does not deal with border issues as those issues are handled by Special Representatives on both sides. Also the meeting does not discuss Border Defence Cooperation Agreement since there is a separate mechanisms for that,” spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said here. The meeting is led by Joint Secretary in Ministry of External Affairs Gautam Bambawale and seniors officials of Ministry of Defence and Home Affairs from Indian side and a composite delegation of officials from Chinese side comprising members from various departments dealing with the boundary issue, he said.
Significantly, there was no member of Army in the composite Chinese delegation, the sources said.
While the meeting focused on how to maintain peace and tranquillity on the border and ensure better coordination and communication when incidents take place near the Line of Actual Control, the violation of status quo ante in Ladakh by Chinese troops in April apart from other Chinese incursions thereafter are understood to have been discussed. The Chinese incursions came days after India cleared a proposal to raise 50,000-strong Mountain Strike Corps along the border with China, a major boost to the Army’s war- fighting capabilities along the LAC. The spokesperson also said that the meeting was part of series of regular interactions between the two countries.