Site for India, China troop meeting opens in Arunachal

Last Updated : 17 August 2018, 18:48 IST

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A year after the Doklam flash point, India and China have operationalised a new border personnel meeting (BPM) point at Kepang La in Arunachal Pradesh— third one in the northeastern state— for regular exchanges between the two armies.

The first meeting at the new BPM site was held on Independence Day.

The Indian Army team met a People's Liberation Army (PLA) delegation at the new location in Siyang valley, which is more than 600 km from the state capital Itanagar.

Gifts were exchanged and both sides affirmed their resolve to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation for maintaining peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control, army sources said.

Arunachal Pradesh has two existing BPM sites at Bum La near Tawang in the west and Kibithu in the east. Kepang La comes somewhere in the middle.

A second BPM was held at Kibithu, on the Indian side of the LAC.

From 2014, Kibithu-Damai border meeting mechanism began as yet another confidence building measure between the two armies that fought a bitter war in 1962 in Arunachal Pradesh.

On the other end of the 3,488 km long LAC, two ceremonial BPMs were held at Chushul-Moldo and Daulat Beig Oldi-Tiwan Wen Dian meeting points in eastern Ladakh.

Not a single BPM were held on the Independence Day in 2017 due to the Doklam crisis, though sweets were exchanged at some places.

But a flurry of activities were conducted this time as the celebrations precede the arrival of the Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe in New Delhi.

A member of the Central Military Commission and the Minister of National Defence, Wei would be in India between August 21-24 and will be meeting his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman and other officials.

One of the tasks cut out for the Chinese minister would be improve the trust factor between the two armed forces, which went downward after troops from both sides had a 72-day long face-off at Doklam near India-China-Bhutan tri-junction.

However, there's little progress in the reduction of Chinese transgressions along the LAC.

One such incident was reported from the Demchok area of Ladakh, just days before the Independence Day. The number of transgressions by the PLA troops was 426 in 2017 as against 273 a year back.

The transgression, army officials claim, happened because of the “difference in perception” about the LAC as the boundary remains disputed.

Published 17 August 2018, 14:17 IST

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