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India, China developing mechanism to prevent face-offs: Antony

July 26, 2013 11:43 IST

India and China are trying to develop effective mechanisms to prevent the "embarrassing" face-offs between their troops along the "disputed" points of the Line of Actual Control, Defence Minister A K Antony said in New Delhi on Friday.

Terming the 21-day standoff between the two sides in Depsang valley in Daulat Beg Oldi area as an "unusual" incident, the defence minister said the two countries will meet soon in Beijing to discuss issues and try to find a solution for such "unpleasant incidents".

"Till the final settlement of the border issue, we are trying to find out more effective mechanisms to prevent occasional incidents. There are many points in the LAC that are disputed and they are patrolled by both sides. So, sometimes it leads to some face-off," he told reporters on the 14th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas.

The minister was asked to comment on the rising incursions by the Chinese troops into the Indian territory along the LAC in Ladakh and the northeastern sectors.

Antony said, "There are disputed points where both sides are going there which sometimes causes some embarrassing situations." He said after the Depsang incident in April, India and China had "free and frank" talks and "we are trying to have more border personnel meeting places and have more effective mechanisms to prevent such unpleasant incidents."

"On the one side, both sides are trying to find a long term solution to the long pending border dispute. Till that time, our aim is to maintain peace and tranquility at the border," Antony said.

On the recent third meeting of the joint working group between the two sides, the minister said free and frank discussions were held between both sides. "We are going to have another round of this meeting in Beijing soon on this issue. So, I think we will be able to find out a solutions to such unpleasant incidents on the border," he said.

In the recent past, there have been several incidents of incursions in Ladakh sector where Chinese troops have entered well within Indian side and stayed there for long hours before returning to their areas. In one such incident, Chinese troops had entered Chumar area in Ladakh on July 16-17 on horses and ponies and demanded that Indian troops leave the area, staking claim over it. In the last two weeks, there have been at least five incursions in the area and around 150 incidents in the last seven months.

Meanwhile, commenting on the alleged "mistreatment" of armed forces personnel and the lack of accommodation for them, Antony said though the situation had improved in comparison with past but "a lot was still required to be done". "Under the married accommodation project, nearly 1.99 lakh houses are to be built for forces. Out of that, 50 per cent has been completed," he said.

On the rank pay issue of the forces, the defence minister said the government has referred it to the attorney general for his "final advise" on the matter.

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