India, China play down border standoff, flag meeting likely today

  • Rahul Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 15, 2015 01:05 IST

A flag meeting between Indian and Chinese commanders is likely in the sensitive Ladakh sector on Tuesday to ease tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) following a border squabble last week, sources said.

A sense of unease gripped the LAC, prone to violations by the Chinese, after Indian forces on Friday flattened a one-room shed constructed by Chinese troops inside what India considers to be its territory in the Burtse region.

But a flare-up was avoided as both sides stuck to protocols for maintaining border peace.

The flag meet, a mechanism to resolve frontier issues, could be held either at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) or at Chushul, a source said.

“It wasn’t a face-off but we don’t want such things to fester,” he said.

China too said there was no face-off between the two sides, seeking a "clarification" from India on the incident.

"As far as I know there is no such faceoff in the border area," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told reporters in Beijing.

He said Chinese troops were carrying out their duties on their side of the LAC. China was committed to border peace and stability, Lei added.

New Delhi and Beijing signed a new boundary pact in October 2013 to ensure peace and stability along the LAC, but the cycle of border violations continues to be an old irritant in bilateral ties.

A border personnel meeting between India and China took place at DBO for the first time on August 15.

The Indian Air Force has landed its special-mission planes at the 16,614-foot landing strip in the area, the world’s highest military airfield– barely 8km from the LAC– on several occasions despite resistance from China.

India currently restricts its surveillance in the Ladakh sector to a self-imposed “patrolling limit” ranging between 2km and 20km inside New Delhi's perception of the LAC, which witnessed a series of Chinese incursions that have caused friction between the two countries.

The development on Friday came exactly a year after a tense standoff in the Chumar sector between the two armies that was triggered when Indian forces found Chinese troops had deployed heavy machinery to construct a temporary road inside Indian territory.

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