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Armies of India,China may set up hotline

NEW DELHI: July 23, 2013 DHNS 2:53 IST
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India and China on Tuesday discussed setting up a hotline between the two armies, which may be announced later this year.

The third meeting of the working mechanism for consultation and coordination on the India-China border affairs also discussed the issues, which will come up when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Beijing later this year.

Singh may visit Beijing in October on the invite of Chinese premier Li Keqiang. But the dates are yet to be finalised.

The hotline between the two director-generals of military operations was discussed in the past as well. Still, there are technical issues that need to be addressed before an announcement is made. During Defence Minister A K Antony’s visit to China last month, the two countries agreed to take “measures to strengthen communication and coordination at various levels between the border guarding forces.”

At the India-China meeting on border affairs, Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary (East Asia) in the External Affairs Ministry, is understood to have discussed border defence management including alleged intrusions by the Chinese troops into disputed territory, which China perceives as their own.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the meeting is part of a regular series of interactions between both sides. The first meeting was held in March 2012 and the last in November 2012. “On our side it is being led by the External Affairs Ministry, but it also has officials of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs and other organisations dealing with border affairs. Similarly, on the Chinese side too there is a composite delegation," he said.

The meeting deals with all issues relating to peace and tranquillity on the border since the last meeting in November 2012.

The spokesperson clarified that the meeting would not deal with boundary issues as those are being handled by the Special Representatives of both sides. Moreover, it does not discuss the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement because there are separate mechanisms to deal with it.

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