India, China to Discuss Confidence-building Measures

New Delhi, Aug 21: A year after the Doklam standoff, India and China are set to discuss steps to strengthen confidence-building measures (CBMs) along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the hotline between their commanders and resumption of their bilateral “Hand-in-Hand” combat exercise, said a report on Tuesday. After a meeting with visiting Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas is indicative of the sensitivity and maturity with which India and China handle their differences, not allowing them to become disputes.”

The Times of India quoted PM Modi as saying that India-China relations were “a factor of stability in the world”. Gen Wei, who is heading a 24-member team, will hold a “restricted meeting” and delegation-level talks with his counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday, said the daily. “The hotline between the two central military headquarters, akin to the one between the Indian and Pakistani DGMOs, the annual Army exercise and more effective implementation of CBMs on the ground to prevent troop face-offs along the LAC will all be on the agenda,” it quoted an official as saying.

The talks come as a follow-up to the informal summit between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan in April which led to “strategic guidance” to their militaries to defuse troop confrontations during patrolling. There has already been a reduction in the border tensions along the 4,057-km LAC which was witnessed during the 73-day Doklam standoff. Yet, the rival troops continue to patrol to lay claim to disputed areas along the unresolved LAC, which stretches from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.

An earlier report had suggested that People’s Liberation Army troops had intruded around 300-400 metres inside the Demchok sector of eastern Ladakh. The claim was however denied by the Indian Government which continued to insist that there had been no such intrusion. The number of transgressions by Chinese troops along the LAC has crossed 170 this year.