SRINAGAR: India has agreed to a Chinese demand to demolish bunkers near their de facto border in Ladakh military officers said, as part of a deal to end a stand-off that threatened to scupper slowly improving relations.
Indian and Chinese soldiers faced off 100 metres apart on a plateau near the Karakoram mountain range, where they fought a war 50 years ago, for three weeks until they reached a deal on Sunday for both sides to withdrew.
The tension had threatened to overshadow a visit by foreign minister to Beijing on May 9. China's Premier Li Keqiang is expected to visit India later this month.
Details of the deal have not been made public but a senior officer from the Indian Army's northern command said India had agreed to abandon and destroy bunkers in the Chumar sector, further south along the disputed border.
"The bunkers in Chumar were dismantled after we acceded to Chinese demand in the last flag meeting. These bunkers were live-in bunkers," the Army officer told Reuters on Tuesday.
India said up to 50 Chinese soldiers intruded into its territory on the western rim of the Himalayas on April 15. Some Indian officials and experts believed the incursion signalled Chinese concern about increased Indian activity in the area.
India said the Chinese soldiers were 19 km beyond the point it understands to be the border in the Ladakh region of Kashmir, a vaguely defined line called the line of actual control, which neither side agrees on.
China denied it had crossed into Indian territory. China won the border war they fought in 1962, which soured relations for decades, but ties between the Asian giants have been improving in recent years. China is India's top trade partner.
India has been beefing up its military presence for several years on the remote Ladakh plateau, building roads and runways to catch up with Chinese development across the border in a disputed area known as Aksai Chin.
The decision to agree to the Chinese demand and demolish the bunkers followed heavy criticism of the government over its handling of the incident by the opposition.
The Indian officer said earlier that Chinese officers demanded that India stop construction of bunkers, tunnels and huts along the line of actual control, as the vaguely defined border in place since the 1962 war is known.
They also objected to nomads crossing from India to grazing meadows on the Chinese side, the Indian Army officer said.
An official in defence ministry said on Monday the deal to end the standoff as a "quid pro quo" and said China had also demanded India take down listening and observation posts in the Chumar area, which is close to a Chinese road through Tibet.
It was not clear if India was dismantling those posts.
Chinese think tank warns of more 'serious' incidents
Warning that both countries may see far more serious incidents than the stand-off at Depsang Valley pending a long-term solution, a Chinese government think tank today said that such problems in future would be more difficult to resolve due to the pressure mounted by opposition parties and media in India.
"Pending the suspense of a long term solution (to the boundary issue), we cannot say that there will not be periodic outbreaks of similar incidents, which may be even be more serious" said the first detailed write up on the stand off at Daulat Beig Oldi (DBO) in Ladakh area in the Chinese media, according to Press Trust Of India.
"Therefore, China and India must have great wisdom, determination and courage for the early and proper settlement of the dispute", an article written by Qian Feng, Executive Director of the state-run Chinese Society of South Asia think tank carried by the Chinese language Global Times said.
Outlining various factors, it said "some Indian political parties have used this event to launch a high-profile criticism of the 'weakness' of the Congress Party and urged it to put pressure on China.
"We should see that these parties are often just 'opposition for opposition's sake'. Their words and deeds do not have to be taken too seriously.
"But on the other hand, the proliferation of political parties, the rise of local parties, and the multiple controls in the political scenario will place more and more constraints in the central government's handling of foreign policy", it said adding that this could be "a future trend".
The article also attacked the Indian media's coverage of the intrusion that was resolved after days of hectic parleys both at diplomatic and militray levels.
"The Indian media has, for some time, been deliberately creating tensions between China and India and this is likely to continue in the future, incurring both China's dissatisfaction and India's headache. India should use this incident to ponder how it can mitigate this damaging effect", it said.
The article said the root causes of the confrontation between the two sides lies over differences in the cognition of the line of actual control between the two sides. Agencies
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