India, China May Have First Ever Hotline Contact Between Udhampur-Beijing

1 May 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: In a major breakthrough in improving relations and resolve border disputes immediately, India and China were inching close towards having hotline contact directly between Northern Command Headquarters in Udhampur to China's capital Beijing, the headquarters of People's Liberation Army (PLA) and increase number of Border Meeting Points (BMPs) from two to six in Ladakh. Top official sources told the Excelsior that Indian Army and PLA have warmed up to each other before the high profile first visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China from May 14 to 16 and decided to ensure that there were no incursions or any other kind of trouble on Sino-Indian border. Both the sides want to maintain complete peace and tranquility on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Sources said a proposal has been mooted to open up first ever hotline contact between Northern Command Headquarters of Indian Army in Udhampur directly to Beijing, the PLA Headquarters in China. 'If everything goes well, this proposal could soon turn into a reality,' sources said, adding the hotline contact would go long way in resolving border disputes, if any, in Ladakh immediately by the senior Army officials of the two countries. The proposal assumed significance as such a contact didn't even exist between India and Pakistan, which have direct hotline contact at the level of Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) from New Delhi to Islamabad. At the hotline, the top Army officials can speak to each other immediately in case of any incursion or dispute on the LAC and resolve it at their own level. Presently either the External Affairs Ministry officials or the Army Headquarters of the two countries had to intervene in case of any kind of incursions on the LAC, which hasn't been demarcated between India and China and disputes often cropped up due to no demarcation. However, after takeover of Narendra Modi Government at the Centre, there have been virtually negligible incursions from Chinese side in Eastern sector of Ladakh. According to sources, a delegation of senior Army officials could also visit Beijing before the three-day visit of Narendra Modi to work out various agreements to be signed between the two neighbouring countries including the border agreement. Sources said the Border Meeting Points (BMPs) between Indian Army and China's PLA in Ladakh were likely to be increased from two to six to ensure that the disputes pertaining to sectors were resolved by the Sector Commanders then and there. Presently, both the BMPs were located in Chushul in Eastern sector of Ladakh. 'Increase in number of the BMPs was on the cards. The proposal could mature anytime. Both the sides have done an exercise during the border level meetings and identified six points, which could be named as the BMPs. After nod from political leadership of the two countries, the BMPs would go up,' sources said. It may be mentioned here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is undertaking three-days visit to China from May 14 to 16. Modi wants to visit China before completion of his one year in the office on May 26. Meanwhile, Indian and Chinese troops held the third meeting in a fortnight, in Ladakh sector today and batted for maintaining peace and tranquility along the border. 'A ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) was held today at Chinese side in Chushul Sector in eastern Ladakh (in Jammu and Kashmir),' Defence spokesperson (MoD), Col S D Goswami said. The delegations were led by Brigadier J K S Virk from the Indian side and Senior Colonel Fanjun from the Chinese side. This is third meeting of neighbouring troops on the two sides of Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh sector in the past fortnight. The earlier meetings took place on April 14 and 24, Col Goswami said. He added that the meeting was composed of exchange of greetings, and reflected the mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations of functional levels on the border. A cultural programme showcasing vibrant Chinese culture and traditional grandeur was organised, followed by sumptuous lunch. Col Goswami said that both sides also expressed commitment to build on the mutual feeling of upholding the treaties and agreement signed between the Governments of the two sides, to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC. 'Both the delegations interacted in a free, congenial and cordial environment. The delegations parted amidst feeling of friendship and commitment towards enhancing the exciting cordial relations and maintaining peace along LAC,' he said. The delegations agreed to enhance the existing cordial relations on the LAC in Ladakh region. Earlier, the ceremonial border personnel meeting commenced with saluting of the national flag of China by both delegations. This was followed by the ceremonial address by both delegation leaders which was composed of exchange of greetings, wishes and vote of thanks and reflected the mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations of functional levels on the border. Thereafter, a cultural Programme showcasing vibrant Chinese culture and traditional grandeur was organised.