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Explain where is Line of Actual Control located, and why do India and ...

  Jun 05, 2020

Explain where is Line of Actual Control located, and why do India and China differ on the border?

  1. The LAC is the demarcation that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory. 
  2. India considers the LAC to be 3,488 km long, while the Chinese consider it to be only around 2,000 km. 
  3. It is divided into three sectors: the eastern sector which spans Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, the middle sector in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and the western sector in Ladakh.
  4. The alignment of the LAC in the eastern sector is along the 1914 McMahon Line, and there are minor disputes about the positions on the ground.
  5. The line in the middle sector is the least controversial.
  6. The major disagreements are in the western sector where the LAC emerged from two letters written by Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai to PM Jawaharlal Nehru in 1959, after he had first mentioned such a ‘line’ in 1956. 
  7. In his letter, Zhou said the LAC consisted of “the so-called McMahon Line in the east and the line up to which each side exercises actual control in the west”. 
  8. After the 1962 War, the Chinese claimed they had withdrawn to 20 km behind the LAC of November 1959. 
  9. To put it concretely, in the eastern sector it coincides in the main with the so-called McMahon Line, and in the western and middle sectors it coincides in the main with the traditional customary line which has consistently been pointed out by China. 
  10. India rejected the concept of LAC in both 1959 and 1962. 
  11. India’s objection was that the Chinese line “was a disconnected series of points on a map that could be joined up in many ways.
  12. The line should omit gains from aggression in 1962 and therefore should be based on the actual position on September 8, 1962 before the Chinese attack.
  13. India formally accepted the concept of the LAC when Rao paid a return visit to Beijing in 1993 and the two sides signed the Agreement to Maintain Peace and Tranquillity at the LAC. 
  14. The reference to the LAC was unqualified to make it clear that it was not referring to the LAC of 1959 or 1962 but to the LAC at the time when the agreement was signed. 
  15. To reconcile the differences about some areas, the two countries agreed that the Joint Working Group on the border issue would take up the task of clarifying the alignment of the LAC.
  16. During his visit to China in May 2015, PM Narendra Modi’s proposal to clarify the LAC was rejected by the Chinese. 
  17. India’s claim line is the line seen in the official boundary marked on the maps as released by the Survey of India, including both Aksai Chin and Gilgit-Baltistan. 
  18. In China’s case, it corresponds mostly to its claim line, but in the eastern sector, it claims entire Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet. 
  19. The LoC, on the other hand, emerged from the 1948 ceasefire line negotiated by the UN after the Kashmir War. 
  20. It was designated as the LoC in 1972, following the Shimla Agreement between the two countries. The LAC, in contrast, is only a concept – it is not agreed upon by the two countries, neither delineated on a map or demarcated on the ground.