Mark LAC to halt transgressions: India tells China

BEIJING: India has made it clear to China that agreeing on a mutually acceptable Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the only solution to the problem of border transgressions. Beijing is not in favor of a LAC.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who met his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan, a General with the People's Liberation Army, explained India's stand on LAC, saying the process of "actually marking" the LAC is essential for proper border management. "Without that everything goes by perceptions, which has caused problems sometimes," he said.

He stressed on the need for proper border management, and ruled out a time limit for an agreement on the LAC. "Timeline is difficult in such matters. We have said that we are a old civilization. Good relations with us would be good for the region as a whole."

Parrikar also expressed unhappiness over China's move to block a United Nations resolution on Pakistan based Masood Azhar Azar, accused of involvement in the Pathankot attack. "On the UN issue, we think it (Chinese action) is not in the right direction. We have taken it up with them," Parrikar told Beijing based Indian journalists.

China for its part expressed its concerns over India's recent statement asking all countries involved in the South China Sea dispute to resolve the problem through dialogue and consultation, and ensure that freedom of navigation on this crucial sea route is not affected.

"We have not changed our position on this issue," the minister told the Indian media. China has objected to it saying countries not directly connected to the South China Sea should not interfere in the dispute. The dispute resolves around ownership of islands, which is being claimed by several countries including China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines.

Other concerns India raised at the meeting was over security risks thrown up by China's Silk Road program in Pakistan, and the Maritime Silk Road plan, which if successful, would give it access to the Indian Ocean, said Parrikar.

Fan Changlong said China regards ties with India from a strategic and long-term perspective. It is willing to strengthen military-to-military cooperation to contribute more to peace, stability and prosperity of two countries. Parrikar emphasized the need for more intense dialogue between the two countries saying that detailed consultation is essential to overcome differences in the defense arena.

He also said that the planned hotline between top military officials of the two countries would become operational in the coming months. The decision to enhance communication with a military-to-military hotline was taken over a year back.

The two neighbors have also decided to open more border points for commander-level negotiations to avoid border skirmishes besides the ones that have been agreed on, the minister said. At present, there are five border points operational including two in Arunachal Pradesh and two in Ladakh.

Chinese officials assured Parrikar that construction in PoK as part of the Silk Road program in Pakistan was not an move aimed against India but merely an economic development effort.

India is also concerned about Beijing's efforts to create a sea route linking Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to get access to the Indian Ocean as part of the Maritime Silk Road program.

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