Border Personnel Meeting point

Border Personnel Meeting points are locations along the disputed Sino-Indian border where the armies of both countries hold ceremonial and practical meetings to resolve border issues and improve relations. While border meetings have been held since the 1990s, the first formal Border Personnel Meeting point was established in 2013. There are five meeting points: two in the Indian Union Territory of Ladakh or India's Western (Northern) sector corresponding to China's Southern Xinjiang Military District of the Western Theater Command, one in Sikkim, and two in Arunachal Pradesh in India's Central and Eastern sectors corresponding to China's Tibet Military District.

BackgroundEdit

 
Map of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with disputed areas shown in blue
 
Map of Tibet Autonomous Region with disputed areas shown in blue

The border between China and India is 3,488 kilometres (2,167 mi) in length[1] and often in sparsely populated areas. Its exact location has never been formally defined and is thus vague and in dispute. Both governments patrol up to where they each believe the border lies. Indian and China began discussing the border in the 1980s.[2]

To facilitate cooperation and peace at the disputed border through consultation and interaction, the armies of both countries, the Indian Army and China's People's Liberation Army (PLA), hold meetings near the border called Border Personnel Meetings (BPMs). These meeting have been held since 1995.[3]

There are two types of BPMs. A ceremonial BPM is used for cultural exchange to build friendship and otherwise improve to bilateral defense relations between the two armies. Ceremonial BPMs have been held on New Year's Day (January 1),[4] India's Republic Day (January 26), Harvest Festival (April 14),[5] May 15, PLA Day, which commemorates the establishment of the Chinese PLA (August 1), and Indian Independence Day (August 15).[3] These meetings include the playing of each country's national anthem and saluting of their respective flags, and ceremonial addresses by representative of both armies.[5]

A BPM Flag Meeting is a meeting between the armies "used to resolve local issues like patrols inadvertently crossing over and prevents flare-ups".[1]

LocationsEdit

One aspect of an initiative of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to improve Indo-Chinese relations and reduce border tension was the creation of formal locations to hold Border Personnel Meetings.[1] Border Personnel Meeting points were established after the signing of a Border Defense Cooperation Agreement in October 2013.[6] The first three formal BPM Points were opened shortly after the agreement. Two additional locations were opened in 2015.[7]

Formal meeting points are at fixed locations and have infrastructure. Before they were used, meetings were not in permanent locations and could have been on either the Indian or Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).[8]

Moldo/Chushul - Spanggur-ChinaEdit

Chushul or Spanggur Gap is in the Leh district of the Indian state of Ladakh region.[9][10] The meeting point is named after the nearby town (Chushul) or the mountain pass (Spanggur Gap). An October 1, 2015 meeting was held there and simultaneously in Daulat Beg Oldi in which issues relating to a border confrontation in Ladakh in the prior month were resolved. Both countries agreed to return their troops to the previous positions.[11] The meeting point and a nearby 1962 Sino-Indian War memorial are a tourist attraction.[12] There is a meeting hut there.[13]

Nathu LaEdit

Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Indian state of Sikkim and once part of the historic Silk Road.[1][10] It is also one of three open trading border posts between China and India. Along with Bum La Pass, it was one of the first two informal locations used in the first decade of BPMs.[8]

Bum La PassEdit

Bum La Pass is a mountain pass in the Tawang district of the Indian state Arunachal Pradesh,[10][1] 42 kilometres (26 mi) north of the town of Tawang at an altitude of 15,134 feet (4,613 m).[14] Fierce fighting took place there during the 1962 border war when China invaded India through the pass.

Ceremonial meetings were held there every year on August 15 (Indian Independence Day) from 2006 to 2016. The Chinese did not participate in 2017 due to a border standoff in Doklam.[15] Both armies resumed meeting on October 30, their first since the conflict ended on August 28.[14] Along with Nathu La, it was one of the first two informal locations used in the first decade of BPMs.[8]

KibithuEdit

Kibithu is in the Anjaw District of the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh and opened in May 2015.[7] The first meeting there between the Indian and Chinese military occurred in conjunction with Prime Minister Modi's China visit of May 14–16.[1] At this meeting, Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed to open additional meeting points to improve bilateral defense relations.[7] The first BPM was held here in 2006, well before the location was formalized as a meeting point. That meeting coincided with the first visit to India by Chinese President Hu Jintao and at the time was the third "informal" meeting point.[8]

Daulat Beg Oldi - TianwendianEdit

Daulat Beg Oldi is in the Ladakh region and opened in 2015.[7] Tianwendian, a Chinese military camp is on the Chinese side near Depsang Plains in the region of Aksai Chin, an area controlled by China but claimed by India. It is the highest meeting point.[4]

The first meeting at this location was held on August 1, 2015 (PLA Day). The events included a Chinese cultural program and other ceremonies meant to improve relations. Later in the month, India hosted a delegation from the PLA on the occasion of Indian Independence Day and celebrated with traditional songs and dances from Indian culture, Gatka martial arts, and motorcycle acrobatics performed by the Indian Army Corps of Signals.[6] The first ceremonial BPM ever held on New Year's Day was here in 2016.[4]

A meeting hut was constructed approximately a year after the meeting point was opened.[13]

The meeting point is at an especially sensitive location as it was the region of many Chinese incursions.[9] The meeting point is at an elevation of 16,000 feet (4,900 m) and hosts one of the highest airstrips in the world.[9] It is the northernmost meeting point.[6] A three-week long confrontation occurred here in 2013 when China objected to Indian fortifications at Chumur.[1] The airstrip was unused from the 1965 India-Pakistan war until 2008 when India sought to show its ability to respond to threats in the remote region and landed an Antonov-32 transport plane there. Five years later, India sent another transport, a C-130J Super Hercules to the base. India considers this location strategically important as a point from which to control the Karakoram Highway between Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan and China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Such control would be important in the event of a war between India and China.[9]

Proposed meeting pointsEdit

In 2014, establishment of a meeting point at Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand, 35 kilometres (22 mi) from the Chinese town of Burang, close to Changla was discussed.[10]

In April 2016, discussions began on creating a meeting point in middle sector of the border, possibly in the Himachal Pradesh-Uttarakhand region on the Indian side in a site logistically convenient for both sides.[7] Discussions occurred in Beijing between Indian defense minister Manohar Parrikar and Chinese military and civilian leadership.[16]


Border Personnel Meeting points
( location in China express red, location on LAC express yellow, location in India express green, proposed/discussed express blue)

BPM point opening datesEdit

Formal opening
BPM point Date
Bum La 2013–2014
Chushul 2013–2014
Natha La 2013–2014
Kibithu May 2015
DBO Aug 2015
Prior First Use
BPM point Date
Bum La <2006
Natha La <2006
Kibithu Nov 2006
Chushul Unknown
DBO Unknown

BPM point locationsEdit

Location NW to SE
BPM point Indian State/UT Chinese Prefecture
(within Tibet Autonomous Region)
DBO Ladakh Ngari Prefecture
Chushul Ladakh Ngari Prefecture
Natha La Sikkim Shigatse
Bum La Arunachal Pradesh Nyingchi
Kibithu Arunachal Pradesh Nyingchi

Moldo(Chinese: 莫爾多) Post of the Indian Army, coordinate: 33°33′27″N 78°43′55″E / 33.5575°N 78.732°E / 33.5575; 78.732

Spanggur (Chinese: 斯潘古爾) Post of the People's Liberation Army of China, coordinate: 33°33′58″N 78°35′28″E / 33.566°N 78.591°E / 33.566; 78.591

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ranjan Sen, Sudhi (August 1, 2015). "An Airstrip at 16,000 Feet Becomes Meeting Point Between India and China". NDTV. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  2. ^ Mo, Jingxi (September 15, 2015). "Border 'confrontation' reports dismissed". ChinaDaily.com.cn. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Bonhomie, friendship between Indian and Chinese border personnel at Nathu La". sify.com. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Indian, Chinese armies decide to improve ties at functional level". News18. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Yusuf, Jameel (April 14, 2016). "India, China officials meet on Ladakh border, pledge to maintain LAC sanctity". Deccn Chronicle. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Akhzer, Adil (August 15, 2015). "New Indo-China border meeting point at Daulat Beg Oldie in Ladakh sector". The Indian Express. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e Patranobis, Sutirtho (January 12, 2016). "India, China discussing new meeting point for military personnel". Hindustan Times. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d "India, China on with Border Personnel Meeting". oneindia. November 15, 2006. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d Sharma, Rajeev (August 2, 2015). "New border meeting venue: China extends an olive branch to India in Ladakh, but will it last?". Firstpost. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d "Indian soldiers prevent Chinese troops from constructing road in Arunachal". The Times of India. October 28, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "Sino-Indian Troops Meet At Two BPMs; Reiterate Call For Peace". The Daily Excelsior. October 1, 2015. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  12. ^ "Ladhaka Tours". elandholidays.com. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "India, China hold meet in Ladakh on Independence Day". India at Melbourne. August 16, 2016. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Pandit, Fajat (October 30, 2017). "Indian, Chinese troops hold ceremonial border meet in Arunchal". The Times of India. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  15. ^ "Chinese Army Declines invitation of Indian Army on Independence Day to Participate in Border Personnel's Meeting at Arunachal Border". Voga News. August 16, 2017. Archived from the original on November 20, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  16. ^ Krishnan, Ananth (April 17, 2016). "India, China look at new border meeting point as Parrikar visits". indiatoday. Retrieved April 26, 2016.