India-China stand off: Casualty after 45 years

New Delhi: As India and China have been engaged in verbal and physical spat for decades amid alleged troop's incursion and prevailing tension on the 'Line of Actual Control' (LAC), the violent faceoff on Tuesday between both the armies is reportedly the first incident in 45 years in which causalities have been reported from both the sides.

Four Indian soldiers had lost their lives in an ambush at Tulung La in Arunachal Pradesh in 1975. In September 1993, both the countries had entered into the present agreement in accordance with the five principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence and with a view to maintaining peace and tranquility in areas along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas.

In 1975, Chinese forces had crossed over into the Indian Territory at Tulung La in Arunachal Pradesh and ambushed a patrol of Assam Rifles jawans, killing four of them. As per the report, it was an 'ambush, plain and simple, and four of ours lost their lives. While New Delhi had said that the Chinese had crossed the LAC and ambushed the patrol, Beijing had claimed Indians had crossed and fired at a Chinese post.

The report notes that India "recovered their bodies a week later". Before that, the 1967 clash in Sikkim, which according to some estimates led to the death of 80 Indian and several Chinese soldiers, first when violent India-China border clashes were discussed. But before the latest standoff at Galwan, the 1975 ambush by Chinese forces remain the last instance when Indian soldiers died at the LAC.

As per the 1993 agreement, the two sides are of the view that the India-China boundary question shall be resolved through peaceful and friendly consultations. Neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other by any means. Pending an ultimate solution to the boundary question between the two countries, the two sides shall strictly respect and observe the line of actual control between the two sides. No activities of either side shall overstep the line of actual control. In case personnel of one side cross the line of actual control, upon being cautioned by the other side, they shall immediately pull back to their own side of the line of actual control.

The agreement further said that each side will keep its military forces in the areas along the line of actual control to a minimum level compatible with the friendly and good neighbourly relations between the two countries. The two sides agree to reduce their military forces along the line of actual control in conformity with the requirements of the principle of mutual and equal security to ceilings to be mutually agreed. Both sides shall work out through consultations effective confidence building measures in the areas along the line of actual control. Neither side will undertake specified levels of military exercises in mutually identified zones. Each side shall give the other prior notification of military exercises of specified levels near the line of actual control permitted under this Agreement.

In case of contingencies or other problems arising in the areas along the line of actual control, the two sides shall deal with them through meetings and friendly consultations between border personnel of the two countries. The form of such meetings and channels of communications between the border personnel shall be mutually agreed upon by the two sides, it added.

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