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China ignores a yearly practice

Departing from past practice, the Chinese army did not send an invitation to its Indian counterpart for a ceremonial border personnel meeting (BPM) to mark China’s National Day on October 1. This follows a no-show by the Chinese in response to an Indian invitation to attend a ceremonial BPM on Indian Independence Day on August 15.

This is the first time since 2005 that there was no BPM held on the India-China border. Although tensions between India and China have reduced following the disengagement between the two armies at the face-off site in Dolam plateau on August 28, relations between the two armies have not reverted to normal so far.

 

Background:

Ceremonial BPMs are held on National Days and, usually, the process of inviting and confirming is carried out a couple of days in advance. It is seen as an opportunity for each side to showcase its traditions and cultural diversity to the other.

  • These ceremonial meetings include a small cultural show, a sporting contest and a meal. They are attended by officers, soldiers and families from both sides, and are different from flag-meetings, which are convened to discuss border issues.
  • Both sides had agreed to two ceremonial meetings every year, starting from 2005, consequent to the signing of the Protocol on Modalities for the Implementation of Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas.
  • There are five BPM points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Bum La and Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh, Daulat Beg Oldi and Chushul in Ladakh, and Nathu La in Sikkim.