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In his remarks following his meeting with Li, Mr. Singh said that “peace and calm at our borders must remain the basis for growth in India-China relations, even as we continue negotiations towards a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the India-China border. That will be our strategic scale.┬áThis language is refreshing and effective and is a recognition of the criticism leveled against him and his government for ignoring China`s provocations in the interest of maintaining trade relations. It appears that China was able to fire the gunfire during the development of the BDCA by bypassing the main problem of border dispute resolution. There is no clear answer to how the BDCA differs from other confidence-building measures that India already shares in China on the border issue. And in many ways, the BDCA is charged to China. China`s cross-border attacks undermine the spirit of any confidence in the border areas of New Delhi and Beijing. The Depsang incident of 2013 casts a grim shadow over China`s intentions on the border issue and sweeps away the spirit of previous border peace agreements. India and China have been abhorrently unsuccessful in terms of tangible progress towards progress on the broader issue of the border solution. Beijing appears to be planning to keep the border dispute alive as a tactical pressure point against India. China seems to be waiting for a good moment for the current military asymmetry with India to spread and for Beijing to be able to carry out the dispute on its own terms. On 23 October, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and the two heads of state and government signed a Border Security Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) to maintain peace along the Effective Line of Control (LoAC), established in 1993. The dynamics that led to this agreement were largely generated by the intrusion of a Chinese train into Indian territory in April 2013, known as the Daulat Beg Oldi incident.

The incident was one of the most serious border incidents between India and China in recent history. “China and India are two ancient civilizations. Our two peoples have wisdom and our two governments have the ability to manage our disputes along the border so that they do not harm the general interests of our bilateral relations,” the Chinese leader added. The agreement is expected to include a direct telephone line between the Chinese and Indian defence ministers, but Article IV states that this is something that “both parties can also consider,” in addition to lower communication exchanges. Both sides are further strengthening their military presence along the disputed border. The banality of the text of the recent border defence cooperation agreement is proof that India is losing to China in terms of strategic leverage. Given recent confidence-building measures aimed solely at “consulting” and “coordinating” border issues, the ability of these mechanisms to make some kind of breakthrough in the interminable territorial and border conflict between China and India seems increasingly questionable. The ten-article agreement lists several mechanisms to reduce misunderstandings and improve communication between the two armed nuclear states along their controversial border in Kashmir.

Reuters: “Under the new agreement, both sides will report patrols along the ill-defined border to ensure that patrols do not “reject” each other in order to reduce the likelihood of confrontation and exercise “maximum self-limitation” in the event that the two sides come face to face in areas where the line of control is unclear. The two countries have signed a total of nine agreements, including one to strengthen cooperation in rivers and cross-border transport.