Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 21
India and China have agreed to set up a hotline at the level of Director-General Military Operations (DGMO) and have additional border meeting points for troop formations on either side of the contentious 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC), the defacto boundary between the two Asian neighbours.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who returned from a three-day trip to China last night, said on Monday the new hotlines and border meeting points will be a reality soon. The drafts of the agreement have been exchanged. Parrikar was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Naval Commanders Conference here in New Delhi.
At present India and China have five border personnel meeting points all along the Himalayas, where formation commanders on either side discuss local irksome issues. Parrikar, who had led to a high-level delegation to China ( April 17 to April 20 ) termed the talks in China as ‘frank and positive’. The two sides discussed renewal of the existing Memorandum of Understanding on defence that was first signed in 2006.
The intention to maintain peace along the LAC was discussed in detail, Parrikar said, adding that “our argument is that an accepted principle on the LAC will be better”.
“We raised all issues, including the LAC. The LAC issue is pending for decades and it cannot be done in days,”the Defence Minister said. He said the issue of China using its veto powers in the UN Security Council on disallowing a ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar was also raised.
Replying to a question, he said the Chinese side raised the issue of India and US agreeing in principle to sign the Logistics Exchange Memorandum Agreement (LEMOA). “We have clarified that India takes autonomous decisions based on its own strategic and security needs.”
Meanwhile, Parrikar punctured the premature announcement on signing the Rafale fighter deal with French company Dassault Aviation. Parrikar said: “The deal is in advanced stage and we intend to close it very soon. However, we cannot say the deal is done till it’s signed or at least sent to the Cabinet for its approval”.
Last night the BJP announced on its facebook page that the deal had been done.
On Friday the Ministry of Defence had completed the price fixation of 7.89 billion euros to buy 36 Rafale jets.
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