In a confidence-building measure, the Indian and the Chinese armies on Sunday activated a new hotline in the North Sikkim sector to facilitate their local commanders to speak directly and address any issue or differences on the ground along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), officials said.
The establishment of the hotline between the Indian Army in Kongra La in North Sikkim and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Khamba Dzong in the Tibetan Autonomous Region came a day after the two armies held a 9-hour meeting with a focus on the disengagement process in remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh.
The Indian Army said the hotline has been established to further the “spirit of trust and cordial relations along the borders”. The setting up of the hotline coincided with PLA Day. The inauguration of the new hotline was attended by ground commanders of the two armies and a “message of friendship and harmony” was exchanged through it.
The two sides already have hotline facilities for ground commanders in eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh sectors. “The armed forces of the two countries have well-established mechanisms for communication at ground commanders level. These hotlines in various sectors go a long way in enhancing the same and maintaining peace and tranquillity at the borders,” the Army said.
"A hotline was established between Indian Army in Kongra La, North Sikkim and PLA at Khamba Dzong in Tibetan Autonomous Region to further the spirit of trust and cordial relations along the borders. The event coincided with the PLA Day on August 1," it said in a statement.
“The inauguration was attended by ground commanders of the respective armies and a message of friendship and harmony was exchanged through the hotline,” the Army said.
Officials said with the setting up of the hotline, the ground commanders will be able to speak directly and resolve any differences if they crop up.
In the 12th round of high-level military talks, India on Saturday pressed for an early disengagement of troops and weapons in the remaining friction points such as Hot Springs and Gogra.
There was no official comment on the outcome of the negotiations at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the LAC in eastern Ladakh. Ahead of the talks, there were expectations of a breakthrough in the disengagement process in Gogra and Hot Springs.
A statement on the talks is expected on Monday.
India has been insisting the resolution of the outstanding issues, including at Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra, is essential for the overall ties between the two countries.