Antony to visit China next month, discuss border pact

India and China will hold discussions on a proposed border pact to avoid any flare up between the two armies during Defence Minister A K Antony's visit to Beijing early next month.

He is scheduled to visit China in the first week of July and hold discussions on the proposed pact and ways to avoid situations such as the stand-off between the two armies in Daulat Beg Oldi sector in Ladakh in April, ministry officials said here.

The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) was formally proposed by the Chinese side during the Defence Secretary-level talks between the two countries in March but India had decided to go slow and sought time to consider it.

There were certain proposals over which the Indian side had reservations and that is why, it has suggested certain changes, they said, noting that Indian position has been conveyed to the Chinese side for consideration.

It is learnt that one of the Chinese proposals pertained to a freeze on infrastructure development along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but the Indian side rejected it as New Delhi is in the process of upgrading its military infrastructure in the northeastern and northern sectors.

China has proposed expansion of friendly contacts and greater communication between the troops of the two sides to help avoid any misunderstanding or flare-up along LAC.
Its draft includes a clause which suggests that troops of either side will not fire at each other under any condition, the officials said.

The two sides are also expected to take up the issue of bilateral exercises between the two armies, which are expected to be held in September-October timeframe in China.
The Indian side is also expected to push for the establishment of a hotline between the Directors General of Military Operations to discuss any issue between the two forces on the border.

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