The Heap of Stones along the Sino-Indian border in high altitude Kameng sector on the Line of Actual Control not only marks the divide between the two countries, but also symbolises pervasive tranquility on the border even as disputes continue in certain areas.
"The Chinese troops come upto the LAC to the Heap Of Stones and they do not cross it. There is absolute peace and tranqulity on the border. They accept where we are and we accept where they are," Brigadier Sanjay Kulkarni of 190 Mountain Brigade told a group of visiting journalists.
He attributed the peace and tranqulity in the region to the Confidence Building Measures taken up by both sides.
"In fact, the CBMs taken by both sides have led to a bonhomie along the LAC. The relation has gone to the extent that the Chinese troops conduct special cultural programmes by their artists on the occasion of Border Personnel Meetings," he said.
Both the countries have signed Border Peace and Tranqulity Agreement since 1993. The BPTA consists of CBMs and conflict avoidance measures to defuse tension if such situation arises, he said.
Following the agreement, troops on both sides started interactions with flag meetings, which later transfomed into BPMs since May 30, 1999.
The BPMs at Bum La on the LAC have become a regular event and have helped in sorting out several issues, Kulkarni said.
"Any issue that needs to be raised among each other are taken up during the BPMs. If they try to trespass in some areas, we raise those issues in the meetings and try to avoid confrontation," Col Rakesh Chibber of 4 Corps at Tezpur said.
"We face no problem with the Chinese. We observe them. They observe us. Both respect the LAC," he said.
Besides, a lot of local issues like entry of cattle or civilians from either side of the border are taken up in the meetings.
Pratap Munda, a paramilitary jawan from Indian side, who had crossed over the LAC, was reptriated after the issue was raised at a BPM recently, he said.
"They reciprocate in a positive way to the issues raised during the BPMs," Chibber said.
Yet there are a number contentious issues that remain unresolved till date, he said. Mutually agreed areas of dispute are Namka Chu, Sumdorong, Yangtse, Asaphila and Longju.
"Areas like Asaphila is not under India or China, but patrolled by both. Similarly Longju is a disputed area which is under Chinese occupation since 1962," he said.
There are a lot of sensitive areas where dispute are likely to arise due to differences in perception of LAC. These places include Tulungla, Fish Tails, Dichu and Tri Junction-India-China-Myanmar.
This apart, there is a difference of opinion on the border.
"We believe that watersheds amidst the mountain peaks in the area, should mark the border while China follows the waterline principles which means the water bodies should be treated as the border line," he said.