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India, China hope to strengthen border mechanism

India and China on Friday held their annual defence dialogue, expected to earmark four additional points of emergency interaction between border personnel in the Ladakh sector, and establish new nodes for confidence building, including joint forays to tackle humanitarian disasters at sea.

Ahead of the talks, highly placed sources told The Hindu that discussions could be wrapped up on designating Track Junction, Pangang Tso Lake, Demchock and Chumar — all in Ladakh — as points for emergency meetings between the border personnel, during talks.

The Indian delegation is led by Defence Secretary R.K. Mathur. The day-long interaction was meant to strengthen institutional mechanisms to prevent a flare-up of border tensions from impeding growing economic and regional partnership between New Delhi and Beijing.

Both sides have already demonstrated their intent to stabilise the border first, rather than seek a quick resolution of the boundary issue.

In an interview published on the eve of the talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that, “Insofar as the border is concerned, the most important point right now is that peace and tranquillity must not be disturbed.” Chinese Foreign Ministry has reciprocated this perception.

In tune with the high-level interaction, Mr. Mathur met Chinese State Councillor and Defence Minister Chang Wanquan on Friday, to focus on basic principles and approaches that would drive the military relationship between the two countries.

Controlling divergence

According to the Chinese Defence ministry website, Gen. Chang said that the two militaries were expected “to control divergence in a proper way, strengthen strategic mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation and make contributions to safeguarding the regional and world peace and stability”, in tune with the important consensus that was achieved during the visit to India last year, by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Vice-Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Fan Changlong is expected to visit India in the second half of this year.

With the focus on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), the two delegations were expected to discuss Kibithoo in eastern Arunachal Pradesh and Mana Pass in Uttarakhand as additional points for the annual meeting of border personnel.

China considers counter-terrorism as its top priority, in view of escalating terror attacks in its Xinjiang province, which is the vital gateway for implementing Beijing’s ambitious Silk Road projects.

Both sides also want to ensure that Afghanistan does no reignite as the fulcrum of regional extremism.









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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 7:44:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indiachina-defence-dialogue-focuses-on-fresh-steps-to-stabilise-border/article7088511.ece

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