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Rahul Bhuria asked: What are the provisions of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement between India and China and what is China’s ‘neighborhood diplomacy’?

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  • Rup Narayan Das replies: The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) is the latest round of Confidence Building Measure (CBM) signed in October 2013 between India and China. There has been a slew of CBMs between the two countries that started in September 1993 with the signing of the Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border, which was followed up in 1996, 2005 and in 2012. The thrust of the latest CBM – BDCA - is to, as the very name suggests, prevent occurrence of border incursions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is not clearly defined or demarcated. This at times leads to overlapping claims. The CBMs provide both procedural and institutional mechanisms like the border personnel meetings and the flag meetings between the defence personnel of the two countries to address such overlapping claims and amicably resolve such issues. This is, however, no substitute for the border dispute settlement for which the two countries have the Special Representatives Talks. The BDCA while reiterating provisions of most of the earlier CBMs provides for certain additional mechanisms. The most significant Article in the BDCA is Article VI which stipulates that the two sides shall not follow or tail patrols of the other side in areas where there is no common understanding of the LAC.

    China’s ‘Neighbourhood Diplomacy’, by Chinese accounts, means maintaining a peaceful and stable environment in its neighbourhood and to integrate China’s development with the development of the neighbouring countries.

    Posted on April 30. 2014