China provokes India again, Chinese aircraft flies close to LAC
India on Friday asked China to refrain from violating airspace close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh to avoid escalation of tension in the region. The Indian team comprising army and IAF officers expressed concern over recent flying activities by the Chinese air force near the LAC on its side in late June and early July, Indian officials said, adding the parleys took place on Tuesday – August 2 again.
The need for raising this matter in New Delhi came after one Chinese jet reportedly came very close to the LAC and the IAF had to scramble its jets to thwart any possible threat. These violations occurred during the annual Chinese military exercise in the Tibetan plateau region in the last two months.
As per existing agreements between India and China, the operation of fighter aircraft and armed helicopters is restricted to a distance of ten km on each side of the LAC. According to the ‘Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the LAC in India-China Border Area’ of 1996, “combat aircraft (to include fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, military trainer, armed helicopter and other armed aircraft) shall not fly within 10 km of the LAC.” The LAC is not fully demarcated and there are differences in perception of the alignment due to such incidents, they said.
Given the continuing face-offs at some friction points at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh for the past two years and violent incidents in May 2020, the IAF has activated nearly all its forward bases facing China. Moreover, it has deployed most of its front-line jets including SU-30, Mirage, and even the recently inducted Rafales to meet any challenge.
Incidentally, the latest talks termed as confidence-building measure efforts came nearly a month after the Corps Commanders of the two armies held the 16th round of talks in Ladakh. The issue of airspace violations by China was raised even then. The talks on July 17 focused on finding ways to hasten up the disengagement of troops from the remaining friction points in Ladakh. These talks were held after a gap of nearly four months as the 15th round was held on March 11.
This issue was flagged during a meeting between military delegations of the two sides at the border earlier this week. Officials said India and China discussed ways to better establish an understanding to manage air space and avoid air space violations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This was discussed during the routine Confidence Building Measures (CBM) talks on the ground held on Tuesday. The Indian delegation was led by a Major General.
The 16th round of talks between India and China military commanders failed to break the logjam regarding the ongoing stand-offs at the three friction points in Ladakh. The two sides, however, agreed to continue the process of dialogue to forge a consensus for the early disengagement of troops from the face-off sites. The official joint statement said “building on the progress made at the last meeting on 11th March 2022, the two sides continued discussions for the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector in a constructive and forward-looking manner.
They had a frank and in-depth exchange of views in this regard, in keeping with the guidance provided by the state leaders to work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest. The two sides reaffirmed that the resolution of the remaining issues would help in the restoration of peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western Sector and enable progress in bilateral relations.
In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector. The two sides agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest.
Besides this issue, the talks focused on firming up a process for disengagement from friction points at Depsang Valley, Demchok, and Hot Springs. At present, more than 60,000 troops each from both sides are facing each other at the LAC thereby leading to tension in the border areas.
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