Context: Three decades have passed since the initial agreement between India and China regarding their border, and the systems put in place to ensure harmony along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) are gradually deteriorating and require immediate reevaluation.
- The passing of the 30th anniversary of the Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement (BPTA) between India and China went by unnoticed, bringing attention to the contentious nature of its legacy in contemporary times.
- In 1993, the signing of the BPTA came into effect with the primary objective of upholding and preserving a state of peace and harmony along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Additionally, it sought to diminish the possibility of unforeseen and uncontrolled clashes between the involved parties.
- The limited agreement unintentionally sparked a competition for infrastructure and resulted in more conflicts, including the fatal clash at Galwan in 2020.
- The lack of clarity in the border and problems with the previous agreement led to the failure of subsequent agreements.
- The India-China border issue is still unresolved, and the current crisis has been ongoing for four winters.
Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement:
- The Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement, signed by China and India in 1993, aimed to maintain the current border situation until a final resolution is reached.
- It was followed by the Agreement on Military Confidence Building Measures in 1996, which outlined measures to prevent war.
- The Protocol for the Implementation of Military Confidence Building Measures in 2005 discussed how these measures should be implemented.
- While these agreements have generally helped maintain peace along the border, they have also been violated on several occasions, including during the 2020 China-India skirmishes.
Line of Actual Control (LAC):
- The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the border that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.
- It is divided into three sectors: the eastern sector in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, the middle sector in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and the western sector in Ladakh.
- India believes the LAC is 3,488 km long, while China believes it is around 2,000 km.
- India’s claim line includes Aksai Chin and Gilgit-Baltistan, which is different from the LAC.
- China considers the LAC to be its claim line, except in the eastern sector where it claims the entire Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet.
Distinction between the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan:
- The Line of Control (LoC) was established in 1948 after the Kashmir War and was formally named in 1972 through the Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan.
- It is documented on a map signed by military officials from both countries, giving it international recognition. On the other hand, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is only a conceptual boundary, lacking agreement, official mapping, or physical demarcation.