NEW DELHI: On a day when Pakistan exchanged sweets at the border with Indian soldiers on the occasion of 70th Independence Day, Chinese troops distanced themselves from the event.The Chinese military did not attend the two-decade-old practice of holding Border Personnel Meeting (BPM), on the occasion of Independence Day. A government source said, “No delegation from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) came to our side to attend the ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting. Holding such meetings is important as it is a part of the confidence-building measure mechanism between the two neighbours.”
The BPM meetings are held at five locations where India shares the border with China. They are Bum La and Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh, Daulat Beg Oldi and Chushul in Ladakh and Nathu La in Sikkim.
Chinese and Indian soldiers have been engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation since June 16, after Indian troops objected to a road construction project being carried out by Chinese soldiers in the strategically-important Dokalam plateau close to Sikkim border. Objection was also raised by the Royal Bhutanese Army.
Since then, over 300 soldiers from each side are camping in the disputed site. Multiple efforts to break the ice, including National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s visit to Beijing last month, have not yielded any positive outcome. Now all eyes are on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in September to China to take part in the BRICS summit where leaders from both sides are expected to resolve the issue.
Meanwhile, near the Attari-Wagah border, on the occasion of the country’s 70th Independence Day on Tuesday, security forces of India and Pakistan posted at the border in Punjab, exchanged sweets and greetings to mark the occasion. Despite repeated violation of the ceasefire by Pakistani troops at the Line of control, India’s Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistani Rangers exchanged pleasantries at the border. A small cultural ceremony was held before the two forces exchanged sweets.