|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Hostilities in 1962, friendship in 2006
November 01, 2006 17:51 IST
The bitterness and wounds of the war, which claimed 2,420 Indian Army personnel, seemed to have been forgotten and replaced by bonhomie and camaraderie as commanders of two armies held the fourth and final border meeting for this year in Bumla.
The otherwise isolated snow-clad 15,000 ft border-post, which seldom witnesses any other activity than the border patrol, was turned into a venue for strengthening confidence and building new bridges among the two countries during the ongoing 'Year of Friendship.'
Even the minus 3 degrees Celsius temperature could not dampen the warmth on display during the event, which took place ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to India in November.
The six-member Indian delegation at the meeting held on Monday morning, a regular feature of the confidence-building measures on the extensive but quiet Indo-Chinese border, was headed by Brig Sanjay Kulkarni, the CO of the 190 Mountain Brigade, while Col Li Ming An was in charge of the six-member Chinese team.
The Chinese hosted the Indian delegates for the second scheduled BPM meeting for which they erected tents at the outpost in their territory across the Line of Actual Control.
The other scheduled meeting, along the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang region, is held on May 30 and is hosted by India.
Describing the meeting as 'successful,' Brig Kulkarni said maintaining peace and tranquility was the main agenda of the talks. "We have succeeded in ensuring that no untoward incident occurs along the India-China Border and both the sides are happy about achieving that objective," said Brig Kulkarni, after the more than an hour-long meeting.
The delegates also reviewed the situation since the last Border Personnel Meeting.
The Indian delegation also sought the help of the Chinese in locating an Indian grazer who had inadvertently strayed into the Chinese territory. "The Chinese have assured us that they will return him if he was found in their territory," the brigadier said.
Asserting that the BPM 'is a very important mechanism' of ensuring that no tension exists at the border, Brig Kulkarni said the meeting ensured that all decisions taken at the highest level by both the countries were implemented.
"The meetings ensure that friendship and camaraderie prevails at the ground level among the troops of both the nations," he added.
Two other BPM's are held on India's Independence Day (August 15) and the Chinese National Day (October 1).
The BPM commenced with Col Li welcoming the Indian delegates at the Heap of Stones, a memorial of stones for friendship and solidarity of the two nations raised by the Armies of both the countries. Both the delegation heads offered stones at the heap.
The interaction between the Indian and the Chinese Armies are being held as part of the Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement, signed by the two nations on September 7, 1993, which was ratified in 1997.
On November 29, 1996, New Delhi and Beijing signed an agreement on CBMs along the LAC in the India China Border areas. Initially, flag meetings were held but since May 1999 they transformed into BPMs.
During Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's India visit in April 2005 a protocol on modalities for the implementation of CBMs along the LAC in the Indo-China Border areas was also signed.