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India, China sign pact to address border tensions

Seeking to defuse recurring border stand-offs, India and China on Wednesday inked a comprehensive pact which commits them not to use military capability to attack each other but a deal on a liberalised visa regime could not be signed with India strongly opposing China’s stapled visa policy.

Under a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) signed after extensive talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang here, the two neighbours also agreed not to tail each other’s patrol along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which has witnessed numerous incursions by Chinese troops at Depsang Valley in Ladakh.

The BDCA facilitates the establishment of a hotline between the military headquarters of the two countries and meeting sites for border personnel in all sectors of the 4000-km LAC.

The talks between the two premiers at the Great Hall of the People lasted over three hours. Singh and Li met for the second time this year for “fruitful and productive” discussions.

In all, nine agreements, including the BDCA and one on strengthening cooperation on trans-border rivers, were signed after restricted and delegation-level talks.

But as expected, there was no agreement on liberalising the visa regime, which the Chinese side was very keen on but India was not in the wake of a controversy over stapled visas issued by the Chinese Embassy to two Indian archers from Arunachal Pradesh.

During the talks, India objected to stapled visas issued by China to residents of some Indian states over whose parts Beijing has laid claim.

Singh pledged his commitment to easing the visa regime to facilitate the travel of Chinese nationals.
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