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Thursday, 9 May 2013

From Today's Papers - 09 May 2013



http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130509/nation.htm#3
Ahead of Khurshid's visit, China puts border row on front burner
Ashok Tuteja/TNS
New Delhi, May 8
Ahead of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's visit to Beijing, China today sought to put the Sino-Indian boundary dispute on the front burner, saying a 'proper and timely' settlement of the issue would help preserve peace at the border.

"Proper and timely settlement of border issues serves the common interests of both the countries and is also their common aspiration," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying was quoted as saying while giving brief details about Khurshid's engagement in Beijing during his two-day visit beginning tomorrow.

Khurshid will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and also call on Premier Li Keqiang, who is scheduled to visit India later this month on his maiden official overseas tour after assuming office in March. The border issue is expected to figure prominently during Khurshid's talks with his Chinese interlocutors in view of the recent border stand-off between the two countries following Chinese incursion in Ladakh. A joint statement is also expected to be issued by the two sides at the end of Khurshid's visit.

On his part, the Indian minister said he was very 'comfortable' with the manner in which India and China handled the recent stand-off, showing 'tremendous maturity' in dealing with the issue. "The incident was handled at proportional, limited and localised level. This fundamental understanding was developed over the past several years," he told Chinese journalists at an interaction in New Delhi.

Emphasising that good relations between India and China were not only important for Asia but the whole world, Khurshid said, "as our Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) says the world is large enough for India and China to work and develop together comfortably."

He also expressed the hope that India and China could enhance economic and trade relations by making investment in each other's economy and removing trade imbalance.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130509/edit.htm#6
India's nuclear weapons not for national pride
Shyam Saran

Security analysts, both Indian and foreign, often make puzzling assertions that India's nuclear weapons programme has been driven by notions of prestige or global standing rather than considerations of national security.

Shyam Saran, former Foreign Secretary, analyses India's quest for security, its nuclear doctrine and the command system. The article is the second in a three-part series.

US analysts often make the remarkable observation that "India now lacks a credible theory of how nuclear weapons might be used other than as an instrument of national pride and propaganda". India does have a credible theory of how its nuclear weapons may be used and that is spelt out in its nuclear doctrine. One may or may not agree with that doctrine but to claim that India does not have a credible theory does not accord with facts. Since January 4, 2003, when India adopted its nuclear doctrine formally at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), it has moved to put in place, at a measured pace, a triad of land-based, air-delivered and submarine-based nuclear forces and delivery assets to conform to its declared doctrine of no-first use and retaliation only. It has had to create a command and control infrastructure that can survive a first strike and a fully secure communication system that is reliable and hardened against radiation or electronic interference. A number of redundancies have had to be created to strengthen survivability. In all these respects, significant progress has been achieved. To expect that these should have emerged overnight after May 1998 is rather naive. India today has a long-range ballistic missile capability and is on the road to a submarine-based missile capability.

These capabilities will be further improved as time goes on and more resources become available. The record since the May 1998 nuclear tests demonstrates a sustained and systematic drive to operationalise various components of the nuclear deterrent in a manner best suited to India's security environment. This is not the record of a state which considers nuclear weapons as an "instrument of national pride and propaganda".

Chinese viewpoint

There is a similar refrain in Chinese commentaries on India's nuclear weapons programme. Here is a typical Chinese comment: "Unlike China, which was forced to develop its nuclear option under a clear nuclear threat, India has never been faced with an immediate major military or nuclear threat that would require New Delhi to have a nuclear weapon option to ensure its national survival. The acquisition of nuclear weapons appears to have been almost entirely motivated by politics. India seems to have an explicit strategic goal; to be accepted as a world power. And this goal seems to reflect India's deep-rooted belief that nuclear weapons constitute an effective physical signature of world power status, and even shortcut to this status".

And this extraordinary assessment of India's quest for security in a nuclearised regional and global environment comes from an analyst in a country which over the years actively and relentlessly contributed to the clandestine nuclear weapons programme of Pakistan, firstly by providing it with the design of a tested weapon and later by assisting it with developing its missile capabilities, both directly and through its North Korean ally.

This is a rare case where a nuclear weapon state has actively promoted the acquisition of nuclear weapon capability by a non-nuclear weapon State, though similar allegations have been made about US and French assistance to Israel. Chinese assistance to Pakistan's strategic programme continues apace.

Could India ignore the implications of this alliance and the role of Pakistan as a Chinese proxy to pose a nuclear threat to India? The narrative that I have sketched out does not square with the observation that "India has never been faced with an immediate major military or nuclear threat that would require New Delhi to have a nuclear weapon option to ensure its national survival". And it is rather odd that a representative of a country whose iconic leader Mao Zedong called for "politics in command" can now say that India's nuclear programme has been "almost entirely motivated by politics". Of course, it has been, but not the politics of seeking world power status as is claimed, but the politics of keeping India and its citizens safe from nuclear threats. We have long been familiar with the Chinese predilection to dismiss India's role in international affairs as that of a pretender too big for its boots, while China's superpower status is, of course, regarded as manifest destiny. One should reject such self-serving assertions.

Prestige or deterrence?

What is worrying, however, is that this status-seeking argument has been finding an echo among some Indian analysts as well. One analyst recently claimed: "During its long and unfocused nuclear weapons quest, India came to develop a highly self-absorbed approach. This was because India's dominant objective was political and technological prestige, while for every other nuclear weapon state it was deterrence."

Such sweeping statements show a lack of familiarity with the history of India's nuclear weapons programme, set against the broader political and security backdrop. They also serve to diminish the very legitimacy of India's nuclear weapons status though this may not be the intention. For if deterrence was not the reason for which India became a nuclear weapon state, but only for "political and technological prestige", why should it have nuclear weapons in the first place?

If the argument is that India has and does face threats that require a nuclear deterrent, but these have been ignored by successive generations of India's political and security elite, then obviously it must be a mere fortuitous coincidence that we have strayed into a strategic capability. This elite, it is implied, comprehends neither the security threats nor the manner in which this accidental acquisition of nuclear weapons and delivery capabilities must be operationalised. This does not square with facts.

The thesis that India's nuclear deterrent is mostly symbolic is, for some, driven by the perception that India's armed forces are not fully part of the strategic decision-making process and that they play second fiddle to the civilian bureaucracy and the scientific establishment. Even if this perception was true, and in fact it is not, one cannot accept that the credibility of India's nuclear deterrence demands management by its military. The very nature of nuclear deterrence as practised by a civilian democracy dictates that decisions relating to the nature and scope of the arsenal, its deployment and use, be anchored in the larger architecture of democratic governance. It is the civilian political leadership that must make judgements about domestic, social and economic priorities as well as the imperatives imposed by a changing regional and global geopolitical environment.

The military must be enabled to provide its own perspectives and inputs, just as other segments of the state must do. Undoubtedly the military's inputs and advice would have to carry weight, especially in operational matters. But to equate exclusive military management of strategic forces, albeit under the political leadership's overall command, as the sine qua non of deterrence credibility is neither necessary nor desirable. One should certainly encourage better civil-military relations and coordination. It may also be argued that the military's inputs into strategic planning and execution should be enhanced to make India's nuclear deterrent more effective. But one should not equate shortcomings in these respects with the absence of a credible nuclear deterrent.

If we look at the current status of India's nuclear deterrent and its command and control system, it is clear that at least two legs of the triad referred to in our nuclear doctrine are already in place. These include a modest arsenal, nuclear capable aircraft and missiles both in fixed underground silos as well as those which are mounted on mobile rail and road-based platforms.

These land-based missiles include both Agni-II (1,500 km) as well as Agni-III (2,500 km) missiles. The range and accuracy of further versions, for example Agni V (5,000 km) that was tested successfully only recently, will improve with the acquisition of further technological capability and experience. The third leg of the triad, which is submarine-based, is admittedly a work in progress. We need at least three Arihant class nuclear submarines so that at least one will always be at sea. Submarine-based missiles systems have been developed and tested in the form of the Sagarika but these are still relatively short in range. It is expected that a modest sea-based deterrence will be in place by 2015 or 2016. There is also a major R&D programme which has been in place since 2005 for the development of a new, longer range and more accurate generation of submarine-based missiles which are likely to be ready for deployment around 2020.

Command authority

The National Command Authority (NCA) is in charge of India's nuclear deterrent. At its apex is the Political Council which is headed by the Prime Minister and includes all ministerial members of the Cabinet Committee on Security such as the Ministers of Defence, Home and External Affairs. Below the Political Council is the Executive Council which is headed by the National Security Adviser and includes the Chiefs of the three armed forces, the C-in-C of India's Strategic Forces Command and a three-star officer, among others.

There is an alternative NCA which would take up the functions of the nuclear command in case of any contingency when the established hierarchy is rendered dysfunctional. The NCA has access to radiation hardened and fully secured communications systems where, too, redundancies have been put in place as back-up facilities.

In order to support the NCA, a Strategy Programme Staff has been created in the National Security Council Secretariat to carry out general staff work for the NCA. This unit is charged with looking at the reliability and quality of our weapons and delivery systems, collate intelligence on other nuclear weapon states, particularly those in the category of potential adversaries, and work on a perspective plan for India's nuclear deterrent in accordance with a 10-year cycle.

The Strategy Programme Staff has representatives from the three services, science and technology establishment and other experts from related domains, including External Affairs. A Strategic Armament Safety Authority has been set up to review and update storage and transfer procedures for nuclear armaments, including the submarine-based component. It will be responsible for all matters relating to the safety and security of our nuclear and delivery assets at all locations. This will function under the direct authority of the NCA.

The NCA works on a two-person rule for access to armaments and delivery systems. Regular drills are conducted to examine the possible escalatory scenarios, surprise attack scenarios and the efficiency of our response systems under the no-first use limitation. Thanks to regular drills, the level of confidence in our nuclear deterrent has been strengthened. Specialised units have also been deployed for operation in a nuclearised environment.

I am highlighting these details to make the point that while further steps may be required to make our deterrent more robust, it is unhelpful to peddle the impression that it is dysfunctional, or worse that it is non-existent.

Nuclear control in Pakistan

In much of western literature, one finds frequent comments about the professional manner in which the Strategic Planning Group, in charge of Pakistan's nuclear assets, is run and how effective and transparent measures have been put in place to ensure the safety and security of these weapons. What is rarely highlighted is that among nuclear-weapon states today, Pakistan is the only country where nuclear assets are under the command and control of the military and it is the military's perceptions and ambitions which govern the development, deployment and use of these weapons. This is a dangerous situation precisely because the military's perceptions are not fully anchored in a larger national political and economic narrative. The pursuit of a more powerful, effective and sophisticated nuclear arsenal, dictated by the military, may run in parallel with a steadily deteriorating political, social and economic environment. Would it be possible to island an efficiently managed and sophisticated nuclear arsenal amid an increasingly dysfunctional polity?

The nuclear deal 'exception' provided to India by the US rests on India's universally acknowledged and exceptional record as a responsible nuclear state with an unblemished history in non-proliferation as contrasted with Pakistan's equally exceptional record as a source of serial proliferation.

There is an air of unreality about the often adulatory remarks about Pakistani military's stewardship of the nuclear assets. There are anxieties about its continuing buildup of nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles but these are conveniently ascribed to the threat perceived from India.

More recently, Pakistan's buildup of its nuclear arsenal, refusal to allow the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to undertake multilateral negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty and its threat to deploy theatre nuclear weapons to meet a so-called Indian conventional armed thrust across the border have all been laid at the door of the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement, which it is claimed has upset the "nuclear balance" in South Asia. The votaries of non-proliferation in the West have criticised the agreement as having allowed "exceptionalism" in favour of India, which has encouraged a nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan. Pakistan openly demands that it too be given a nuclear deal like India, otherwise it would continue to produce larger quantities of fissile material and push the nuclear threshold even lower in order to retain the credibility of its nuclear deterrent. The exception provided to India rests on it's universally acknowledged and exceptional record as a responsible nuclear state with an unblemished history in non-proliferation as contrasted with Pakistan's equally exceptional record as a source of serial proliferation and a nuclear programme born in deceit.

There is no moral equivalence in this respect between the two countries and this point must be driven home every time Pakistan claims parity. We should not allow such an insidious campaign to affect our proposed membership of the NSG and the MTCR.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130507/jsp/nation/story_16868478.jsp#.UYsIFEolGSo
Border breach sets up Indian turf war
Army, home vie for ITBP
New Delhi, May 6: The Chinese army exploited "glaring deficiencies" in the pattern of deployment by Indian forces in eastern Ladakh to get inside Indian territory and set up a camp before dismantling it yesterday, according to a post-mortem in the defence establishment.

The turf war between the army — which wants control of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on the China frontier — and the home ministry is now set to escalate after the Raki Nala incident. The cabinet committee on security (CCS), headed by the Prime Minister, is to decide on the subject.

The deficiencies were in an area that was the primary responsibility of one of two ITBP battalions in sub-sector north (SSN), as the Daulat Beg Oldi region is known in military parlance. The ITBP post at Burstse or Bush Area was the closest to Raki Nala. The nearest army post was at Track Junction.

The defence ministry has written to the national security adviser and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on the matter. Before the Chinese "incursion", defence minister A.K. Antony too had written to the PMO in February asking for the two ITBP battalions to be placed under the army's 14 Corps.

The subject has now been referred to a special policy group under the CCS. The matter had been pending with successive governments since a group of ministers formed after the Kargil war (1999) had recommended in 2001 that the army should be in charge of all unsettled borders.

A special defence and security committee headed by Naresh Chandra that submitted its recommendations last year too had proposed that the army be given charge of the entire frontier with China. The CCS is tentatively scheduled to decide on the matter by August/September.

The army has pointed out that apart from the ITBP, forces in eastern Ladakh comprise armoured, mechanised infantry and mountain infantry units — elements that will be the mainstay in a confrontational situation. All these units are under the army.

Besides, the main assets for surveillance — aerial platforms like pilot-less aircraft — too are with the military. The ITBP was neither equipped nor trained for the role, the defence ministry has argued.

PTI reported from Beijing today that China had tacitly admitted the withdrawal of its troops and said the "stand-off incident" with India had been resolved through "fruitful consultations", keeping the larger interests of bilateral relations in mind.

A source in the Indian defence establishment said the national security adviser and the PMO had been told in several notes that although the ITBP, which is under the home ministry, is notionally in charge of the China frontier, in the Ladakh sector the army's formations were ahead of the central paramilitary force.

The army has brigade headquarters in Chusul and Hanle, apart from the 102 Siachen Brigade in Ladakh. But the battalion headquarters of the ITBP's two units are well behind in Leh. Besides, the ITBP was not conditioned for a "tripwire" — meaning a situation that could rapidly degenerate into an escalatory skirmish.

But the home ministry has staunchly opposed this and said the ITBP should remain in charge under the "one-border-one-force" principle. Also, it has argued, this is in tune with the international norm of having central police forces on the border. The Chinese border guard too, it has pointed out, is a police force.

The argument assumes that the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China is an international boundary that is peaceful. As the Raki Nala incident has shown, that is not what the LAC is. The Chinese People's Armed Police Force, that is, the People's Liberation Army's border guard, is under the command of the army.

Another source said that although the 1986 Sumdorong Chhu incident of Arunachal Pradesh was better known, in 2011 too the Chinese troops had set up a tented camp in eastern Ladakh in territory claimed by India. They withdrew after a month.

That incident is less known because the media did not find enough details and the matter was not raised by political parties.
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http://www.firstpost.com/india/china-incursion-indian-army-dismantle-bunkers-in-chumar-764523.html
China incursion: Indian Army dismantle bunkers in Chumar
New Delhi: The Indian Army is dismantling its bunkers in Chumar area in Ladakh as part of the understanding reached with the Chinese Army that ended the 21-day stand-off over the intrusion by Chinese troops in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector.

The bunkers are in the process of being dismantled by the Army as per the understanding between the armies of the two sides during the flag meetings, sources said here on Wedensday.
Indian troops were moved to the bunkers that were built a few months back in a bid to pressurise the Chinese troops to leave their posts from Depsang valley in the DBO sector, they said.

The dismantling of bunkers is, however, being seen as a "strategic disadvantage" for the Indian side as the location at Zhipugi Arla in Chumar gave it the capability for looking deep into the Chinese territory including the important road-links on the other side.

After the incursion by Chinese troops on April 15, Indian troops moved forward to the bunkers in Chumar area two days later, sources said.

Following the Indian move, the Chinese side demanded at the flag meetings that India withdraw its troops from the Chumar area but the Indian side stated that the pull-out of troops should be simultaneous, they said.

The Chinese side took a stand that Indian troops should move out from Chumar and then, it would consider withdrawing troops from Depsang valley, sources said.

The Indian side also did not budge from its stand on the issue but after negotiations on Sunday, it was decided that the two sides would withdraw from their respective positions simultaneously, they said.

Chinese Army soldiers had intruded 19 km into the Indian territory on April 15 and were in a face-to-face situation with the Indian troops who established a camp at a distance of less than 100 metres from their base.

The two sides agreed to leave the area and restore the situation existing before April 15.

http://www.army-technology.com/news/newsindian-army-upgrade-bmp-22k-infantry-fighting-vehicle-fleet
Indian Army set to upgrade BMP-2/2K infantry fighting vehicle fleet
The Indian Army will upgrade its entire Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty-2 (BMP-2)/2K infantry combat vehicle (ICV) fleet in an effort to enhance their capability to address operational requirements, the country's defence minister AK Antony has announced.

In a written response to the Lok Sabha, Antony said the estimated Rs8bn ($0.14bn) project involved armament upgrade of BMP-2/2K infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) to BMP-2M standard, and acquisition of a new powerpack for the IFV.

Upgrades include integration of latest generation fire control system, twin missile launchers and commander's thermal imaging panoramic sights, anti- tank guided missiles, as well as automatic grenade launchers.

Speaking about the long-pending procurement of 100 155mm/52 calibre tracked self-propelled howitzers, Antony said three domestic vendors, including two private companies, have been selected for trial of their equipment.

Without disclosing the vendors' identity, the defence minister noted that the selection forms part of the government's efforts to 'give higher preference to indigenous capacity in the defence sector'.
The army is seeking a powerpack with a minimum 380hp to replace the BMP-2 ICV fleet's existing UTD-20 powerplant, and eventually its performance in cross-country mobility, as reported earlier by The Times of India.

A second-generation amphibious IFV, the BMP-2 is also called Sarath in the Indian Army's service, and is manufactured by Ordnance Factory Medak under license from Russia.

More than 1500 BMP-2s are currently operational with the army in various roles, such as armoured ambulance, armoured vehicle tracked light repair, armoured amphibious dozer (AAD), armoured engineer reconnaissance vehicle (AERV), NBC reconnaissance vehicle (NBCRV), carrier mortar tracked, and unmanned reconnaissance vehicle.

The vehicle's chassis is also modified and developed into versions such as the Nag anti-tank missile carrier (NAMICA) and the Akash air-defence missile system.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/05/08/indias-new-china-war/
India's new China war
Full Comment's Araminta Wordsworth brings you a daily round-up of quality punditry from across the globe.  Today: Under cover of night last month, a platoon of People's Liberation Army soldiers hiked across barren mountains and set up camp in the foothills of the Himalayas, one of the most inhospitable places on earth for a bivouac.

But it wasn't just an exercise in high-altitude preparedness. The Chinese camp was 19 kilometres on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which separates Ladakh in the state of Jammu & Kashmir from Aksai Chin.

The border here has never been demarcated and remains a thorn in Beijing's side. A Foreign Ministry spokesman insisted the soldiers were still in China.

The incursion comes as Beijing is on an imperialist expansion kick. It is already embroiled in territorial disputes with neighbours like Japan and the Philippines over islands, and mineral and fishing rights. It recently started cruises to to the Paracel Islands, which is claimed by Vietnam.

Now, the latest land grab, which has passed almost unnoticed in the western press. But it has raised alarm bells in New Delhi, brought protesters out onto the streets and recalls alarming memories of 1962, when the two countries fought a short-lived war triggered by border disputes, and a standoff in 1986.

Writing in News Track India, Brahma Chellaney believes Beijing is seeking to exploit India's political disarray in the latest incursion.

     A paralyzed and rudderless Indian government initially blacked out reporting on the incursion, lest it come under public pressure to mount a robust response. Its first public statement came only after China issued a bland denial of the intrusion in response to Indian media reports quoting army sources.

    To add to India's woes, Salman Khurshid, the country's bungling foreign minister, initially made light of the deepest Chinese incursion in more than a quarter-century. The garrulous minister called the intrusion just "one little spot" of acne on the otherwise "beautiful face" of the bilateral relationship – a mere blemish that could be treated with "an ointment."

In contrast, India's military men have no difficulty in connecting the dots and perceiving aggression. In an article in the India Strategic Defence magazine, former Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor believes war is always possible.

    Considering the fact that India is one of the few countries with which China has not resolved its long-standing boundary issue and that it has had a prolonged mutually beneficial ongoing relationship with Pakistan, the possibility of a confrontation between the two can never be ruled out.

    From a national security perspective, it would, therefore, be prudent to be prepared for a threat to our territorial integrity. The last thing that India would want is a repeat of 1962!

Brigadier Arun Sahgal, another retired officer, says on the South Asian Idea website the Chinese have been alarmed by Indian activity in the region that could threaten its hold on restive areas like Tibet and Xinjiang.

    Chinese perspective of raising tensions in Ladakh is not shaped by any altruistic motives of improving its positions on the border or lay claims to new areas. It is a well-planned strategic response aimed at coercion to prevent India from improving its overall strategic posture in the region.

    Chinese are aware of infrastructural developments being undertaken by India in Ladakh; upgradation of airfields, development of communications and upgradation of defences etc. These developments are backed by planned Indian capabilities in terms of troops (mountain strike corps), deployment of missiles and upgradation of intelligence and surveillance capabilities.

Meanwhile, a contributor to The Economist's Banyan blog is puzzled by the timing.

    Now above all, when China is embroiled in the other disputes, and the region is tense because of North Korea's erratic bellicosity, it seems incomprehensible that China should want to resurrect yet another squabble …

    Individually, China's actions can be seen as pragmatic reactions to different pressures. But, taken together, they bring two dangers. First, they make China seem embarked on a concerted campaign to establish new "facts on the ground" (or water) to strengthen its position in future negotiations or conflicts. More likely, they show almost the opposite: that China's foreign-policy chiefs lack the clout to impose a co-ordinated, calibrated response to coincidental provocations. Rather than picking off its adversaries one by one, China is taking them all on at once. The impression of an aggressive rising power is hard to shake off.

Chinese media have ignored the topic. And after making their point, the PLA force withdrew, presumably to invade again another day.

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/19KOEh94okfZMJDaZec0DI/India-weighing-Chinas-border-defence-cooperation-proposal.html
India weighing China's border defence cooperation proposal

India is examining a proposal from China for a border defence cooperation pact, according to a person familiar with the developments. The plan was made by China two or three months ago and focuses on expanding friendly contacts between the troops on both sides, a second person close to the developments said.
"We will respond to their proposal; it's under consideration," said the first person cited above. "It is not intended to replace any of the existing protocols," the person said, referring to the pacts signed in 1993, 1996 and 2005.
Referring to the forthcoming visit of Indian foreign minister Salman Khurshid to Beijing on 9-10 May, the person said both sides would look at ways to maintain peace and tranquillity on the borders, given that the visit is taking place within days of the neighbours defusing a tense situation along their undemarcated border that followed Chinese troops entering Indian territory on 15 April.
"It is the first visit (to Beijing) since the new team took over," the person said, referring to the once-in-a-decade Chinese leadership change that took place in Beijing in March. India will also seek access to Chinese markets for Indian products, especially pharmaceuticals and information technology, the person said, pointing to the major trade deficit in China's favour in bilateral economic ties.
Asian giants India and China share a relationship of mutual suspicion, mainly stemming from their 1962 war and China's friendship with India's arch-rival Pakistan. The undemarcated border between the two is a source of tension, though bilateral trade has been booming. In 2011, bilateral trade was almost $75 billion. Both sides have set a bilateral trade target of $100 billion by 2015.
The unsettled border has often sparked claims and counter-claims of incursions. In the latest incident, India accused the Chinese army of straying into its territory in Depsang valley in Ladakh, a claim denied by China. Two meetings between the nations' armies have failed to resolve the matter.
"Overall, the relationship had been moving on a very different trajectory in the last few years. Any incident like this will inevitably lead to some questions... Certainly, we want to bring the relationship back on track," the first person cited said.
As it stands, China claims 90,000 sq. km of Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh and occupies around 38,000 sq. km in Jammu and Kashmir that India claims. Also, under the China-Pakistan boundary agreement signed in March 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq. km of Indian territory in PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) to China, the Indian foreign ministry says.
Both sides have a variety of mechanisms at the official, military and political levels—including flag meetings, joint working groups, meetings at the levels of experts and special representatives, besides communication through diplomatic channels—to resolve disputes.
The first person cited denied that India had agreed to any demand from the Chinese side to demolish bunkers near their de facto border in the Himalayas though the person did say Indian troops removed a "tin-shed" construction in the Chumar area of Ladakh region in Kashmir once the two sides ended the stand-off.
India's military position was 7-8km from the area where the shed had been built and was mainly aimed at sheltering Indian foot patrols in cold and inclement weather, the person said, pointing out that India had not compromised any of its military positions.
When asked if India had issued any warnings that a visit by the newly installed Chinese premier Li Keqiang could be called off if the stand-off did not end with the Chinese pulling back, the person said that India had not issued any such threats. "I think they understood the way the background was developing...that this (the incursions) would impact on our bilateral relations."
As for India's assessment about what prompted the Chinese to enter Indian territory, the person said it was "still a bit of a mystery". One of the reasons could be that the Chinese government wanted to bring the issue of the undemarcated border to the centre stage.
Srikanth Kondapalli, a China expert at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said, "I think they are playing with words. Will this stop tensions between the two countries? The important thing is to define the Line of Actual Control and resolve the territorial dispute."





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