The Dokalam standoff and the subsequent clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh has made it necessary for takeaways and ironing out of issues by the militaries on both sides, being the primary stakeholders in such matters.
What’s the issue?
The LAC, starting from northwest of the Karakoram pass and ending at Arunachal Pradesh, has not been demarcated and is virtually passed on by word of mouth. This has led to differing perceptions regarding the alignment, with China making territorial claims in at least eight areas.
- These are those areas where regular incursions and face-offs take place. They include Asaphila, Longju, Namka Chu, Sumdorong Chu, and Yangste in Arunachal Pradesh, Barahoti in Uttarakhand, and Aksai China and Demchok in Ladakh.
- Even areas along the banks of the Pangong Lake in Ladakh, where a clash between Indian and Chinese troops took place on August 15, are under dispute. The LAC passes through the lake, but India and China do not agree on its exact location. The mountains sloping on the banks of the lake form finger-like structures.
What needs to be done?
The Line of Actual Control (LAC) has to be properly demarcated and simultaneously confidence building measures (CBMs) have to be conducted, military experts said. More points of contact, including regular meetings and setting up of a hotline between the two militaries, have to be created to prevent future transgressions, incursions and face-offs.
India controls area only up to ‘Finger 4’, which is a bone of contention between India and China as both claim it to be a part of their territory. Chinese border posts are at ‘Finger 8’.
On August 15, a joint patrol of Indian Army and ITBP personnel had prevented Chinese soldiers from moving beyond Finger 4. The Chinese soldiers left, but returned later with more people, carrying rods. They attacked the Indian soldiers, who retaliated. Besides scuffles, stone pelting also took place, leading to injuries on both sides. Until the LAC is demarcated properly and there are no doubts regarding its alignment, such incidents can occur.