China wants rulebook on LAC patrol

Seeking to further tone down aggression in border patrols along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Beijing has proposed a formal agreement to do away the practice of 'tailing' of troops by either side that sometimes takes place along the contentious boundary.

While the LAC has remained peaceful for over 45 years, troops from both sides occasionally track each other and follow patrols that take place along the border, some of which are perceived as committing transgressions.

One practice that is occasionally followed is the 'tailing' of a border patrol to ensure that it does not cross over the perceived LAC. During such a manoeuvre, troops track the border patrol party for kilometres, increasing the probability of a confrontation.

In a fresh move, Beijing has proposed during the recent visit by the Indian Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma that tailing be done away with. It is also believed to have proposed doing away with night patrols along the LAC.

Sources said that when the Indian side made the point that procedures are at place at local commander levels to ensure that such matters are resolved, Beijing insisted that a formal mechanism be put into place to affirm the policy. India is now learnt to have asked for a draft proposal from Beijing that it would consider after taking inputs from all stakeholders.

"We already have informal agreements between local commanders not to tail or control border patrols but China is now looking at a written agreement. We have asked for a draft text," government officials said. Sources in the armed forces said that this is the first time that China has asked for such an agreement. While sources said the step would be in the right direction to further tone down any tension along the border they are puzzled at China's insistence on a written agreement.

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