Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, who returned home on April 20 after a 5-day visit to China, termed his talks with Beijing as “frank and positive” and said he is hopeful that the day will come soon when the decades-old boundary dispute between the two Asian superpowers is resolved.
“Better communication was the need of the hour and we agreed to increase our interactions and better management of borders…..best solution (for border disputes) was to finalise the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as because of different perception, technical transgression happens. We feel it is traversing, but they (Chinese troops) are just patrolling. They come and go,” Parrikar told the media on the outcome of his visit.
During Parrikar’s visit the two nations have agreed on setting up a hotline at the level of Director-General Military Operations (DGMO’s) besides conducting additional border meeting points on either side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“Both sides agreed to step up interactions…Very soon DGMO’s hotline matter will resolve, the draft is ready and China has agreed to set up a hotline between two countries for smooth and friendly talk on DGMO level,” the minister said, adding that the drafts of the agreement for establishing hotline and additional border meeting points have been exchanged.
India and China share a long border and have five border personnel meeting points, where formation commanders on either side meet and take up issues.
The 4000 odd-km LAC is the defacto boundary between the two Asian neighbours. There have been repeated troop transgressions from the Chinese side along the LAC. The regular exchanges at the highest level have led to a decline in transgressions across the LAC, with the number coming down to 387 in 2015 from 555 in 2014.
“We raised all issues, including the LAC. The LAC issue is pending for decades and it cannot be done in days,” Parrikar said.
On China’s move to put on hold New Delhi’s attempt to list Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leader Masood Azhar on the UN terror list, Parrikar said he raised the issue during his visit to China. “I said there can’t be differentiation (vis-a-vis) terrorists. All terrorists are the same and they need to be dealt with in the same manner.”
Even External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had also raised the issue with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow this week.
Parrikar, in a recent exclusive interaction with DefenceAviationPost, hoped the day would soon come when the decades-old boundary dispute between the two Asian superpowers is resolved.
“They (relations) are much better than what they were two years back,” the charismatic minister, who graduated from IIT Bombay, told DefenceAviationPost.
“They can still become better. The day might come when they agree to settle the border dispute,” Parrikar, who is set to undertake his maiden visit to China next month, said.
The minister, who visited China from April 18th to 20th on his maiden visit said he engaged with Chinese authorities and held extensive discussions on improving security ties between the two sides.
In November last year, a high-powered Chinese delegation led by General Fan Changlong, Vice-Chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) had visited India. The two sides had decided to deepen bilateral defence ties and maintain peace and tranquillity at the LAC. This was the highest-level Chinese defence delegation to visit India in recent years.
“For all talk of co-operation, China and India remain fierce rivals. Both countries need peace on the border as trade between them grows. We saw over one thousand Chinese troops enter Indian territory in September 2014 on the day their President arrived in India on an official visit. Such incidents can well be avoided,” said a defence expert.