India tells China to draw up SOP to end Line of Actual Control face-offs

LACLine of Actual Control. (Reuters)

India has told China to draft a standard operating procedure (SOP) detailing ways and means to end any confrontations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a senior official said. The SOP, a sub-component of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) signed last week, will be the first to define every step to be taken by the two sides in case of any face-off.

Sources in the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) said they were looking forward to the SOP, which will for the first time give clear directions on steps to be taken in such situations.

"The BDCA, which carries several important points on guarding the LAC, is a welcome step. At least now we have clear directions on issues falling in the grey zone. The SOP will bring more clarity on the issue," said a senior officer.

Last month, before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Beijing, a delegation visited China to discuss bilateral agreements. The SOP was one of them.

"To rule out any anomaly in future we asked the Chinese officials to prepare the SOP. We told them they should draft the document and pass it on to us so that we can fill in the gaps, if any. We wanted to make sure the issue is sorted out cordially," said an officer.

China is expected to get back with the guidelines next month.

"As BDCA mentions ,we will have cultural interactions on a regular basis. We are planning ways to maximise such interactions with our Chinese counterparts. Presently there are only two days, May 1 (Labour Day) for China and August 15 (Independence Day) for India when the two sides meet. Now there will be more such interactions on major festivals and other days of importance in both countries. The modalities have not been chalked out but we would like to make it more interactive and frequent," said the officer.

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