Border Personnel Meeting Current Affairs - 2020

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Indian Army participates in PLA organized Border Personnel Meeting

A Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) between Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China was conducted on 30 October 2019 on the Chinese side at Bum La, Tawang district, Arunachal Pradesh, India. The meeting was organized by PLA.

Key Highlights of BPM

BPM was marked by unfurling of National Flags of both countries (India and China). It was followed by a formal address by delegation leaders as well as discussion on various issues to enhance existing mutual trust and bonhomie between two largest armies in the world.

The prevailing conducive environment during the proceedings of BPM 2019 evidently showed the desire to enhance cooperation and cordial relations between the two countries.

About Border Personnel Meeting

The conducting of BPM every year on 30th October is in vogue since the Border Peace and Tranquility agreement was signed between India and China on 7 September 1993. In past 26 years, the BPM mechanism has evolved into a vital platform for resolving local issues and fostering mutual confidence amongst Border Guarding Troops of both nations.

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Indian, Chinese soldiers engage in face-off briefly in Ladakh

Tensions between Indian and Chinese border troops intensified once again as soldiers of India and China were engaged in a prolonged face-off near Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh. The confrontation began on northern bank of 134-km-long Pangong Tso, two-thirds (nearly 66%) of which is controlled by China as it extends into Tibet.

Key Highlights

The patrolling Indian troops were confronted by People’s Liberation Army (China) soldiers, who objected to their presence near Pangong Tso. This then led to a scuffle between two sides.

As the Indian troops held their ground arguing that they were on their territory, additional personnel were deployed. Following this both sides returned to their bases.

The face-off, however, was de-escalated later and disengaged fully after local delegation-level talks. India has lodged a complaint following which delegation-level meeting was immediately called at Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) point in Chusul (in Leh district) to resolve the issue.

Since transgressions are a common feature along unsettled Line of Actual Control (LAC), thus both sides have instituted several mechanisms to resolve such issues. BPMs by local commanders at designated points along LAC are called by either side.

Background

The Indian-Chinese troops scuffle comes a month ahead of major bilateral visits between PM Modi and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. This is not the first time that such an incident has occured.  In 2018, ahead of Modi-Xi Wuhan summit in April, Chinese troops allegedly breached the Line of Actual Control (LoA) 28 times.

Relations between two countries remain tense following China’s opposition to abrogation of Article 370 which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. A day after Indian government declared J&K state a Union Territory and took away its special status, the Chinese Foreign Ministry put out a statement in strong opposition. Since then, China has been backing Pakistan in its criticism to India’s move.

China had specifically objected to conversion of Ladakh into a Union Territory and also supported Pakistan’s diplomatic moves at United Nations.

About Pangong Tso

It is a Tibetan name for ‘high grassland lake’

It is also called Pangong Lake.

It is is a long narrow, deep, endorheic (landlocked) lake situated at a height of about 4,350 m.

It is 134 km long and extends from India to Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), China.

It is a brackish water lake in Himalayas.

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