India has several border-related conflicts with its neighbours - China and Pakistan. These border conflicts have contributed to the outbreak of war between these countries for some time. While LAC stands for Line of Actual Control, LOC stands for Line of Control. The LOC is a demarcated, military-marked frontier. For instance, the border separating parts of India and Pakistan-controlled Jammu Kashmir is called the LOC, while LAC is a border like Aksai Chin which is not clearly demarcated between India and China.
WHAT IS LOC?
This refers to a sort of border dividing parts of the Indian UT, i.e. Jammu & Kashmir. The LOC has a length of about 776 kilometers. The Indian component of the LOC (southern and eastern portions of the region) is known as Jammu and Kashmir, which makes up about 45% of Kashmir.
WHAT IS LAC?
• LAC stands for the Line of Actual Control. It is the frontier between India and China. In a bilateral agreement in 1993, the idea of an 'Line of Actual Control' (LAC) came into being, although there was no clear settlement of land positions between these two countries.
• The LAC divides territories under Indian rule from territories under Chinese control. It is a large empty area and the armies of India and China maintain a gap of nearly 50 to 100 km.
• The Chinese government believes that the LAC is about 2,000 km, while India believes that the LAC is 3,488 km long.
• LAC is divided into three regions: Ladakh's western sector, Uttarakhand's middle sector, and Himachal Pradesh, and Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim's eastern sector.
HOW IS LAC DIFFERENT FROM LOC?
- After the Kashmir War, the LOC emerged from the 1948 ceasefire line signed by the United Nations (UN).
- In 1972, following the Shimla Agreement between the two countries, it was named as the LoC. It is outlined on a map signed by both armies' Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) and has the international sanctity of a legitimate treaty.
- The LAC, on the other hand, is just a concept-the two nations do not agree on it, nor is it delineated on a map or demarcated on the land.
WHAT ARE THE INDIA-PAKISTAN CONFLICTS ACROSS LOC?
- In the Jammu & Kashmir region, which is a legacy of the 1948 war, India and Pakistan have unsolved border conflicts.
- When peace was negotiated, there was also a mutually demarcated ceasefire line (CFL), which was marked on the maps and jointly surveyed by both armies.
- After the Shimla Agreement, which followed the 1971 war for Bangladeshi independence, this CFL, with slight variations, became the Line of Control (LoC).
- The new nomenclature was intended to illustrate that J&K was a bilateral conflict that would have to be settled peacefully between the Pakistanis and the Indians.
- Since Shimla agreement, LoC remained largely peaceful until it changed in the 90s due to the deterioration of the internal security situation in J&K.
- While Pakistan was largely responsible for the J&K crisis itself, Kargil and the ensuing cross-border aggressions opened up confrontations.
- Although things became calm again with the 2003 ceasefire, the LoC began to heat up again by late 2015.
- In particular, 2017 was especially poor with as many as 860 ceasefire violations and 32 deaths of soldiers.
WHAT ARE THE INDIA-CHINA CONFLICTS ALONG LAC?
- In the case of China, the LAC mostly corresponds to its line of claim, but in the eastern sector, the whole of Arunachal Pradesh is claimed as South Tibet.
- During the visit by the Indian Prime Minister to China in May 2015, the Chinese rejected the request to explain the LAC.
- Both China and India, however, reaffirmed at the Wuhan (2018) and Mahabalipuram (2019) summits that they will make efforts to "ensure stability and tranquility in the border areas."
- The recent clashes since May 2020 at Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso Lake, and other points across LAC claimed the lives of soldiers of both countries. Since then the tension along LAC has increased tremendously.
INDIA’S RESPONSE TO CHINA’S AGGRESSION AT GALWAN VALLEY & PANGONG TSO LAKE (2020)
- India has pushed around the LAC to balance Chinese deployments of additional divisions, tanks, and artillery.
- Also, for Rs. 18,148 crores, India has approved the purchase of 33 Russian fighter jets and upgrades to 59 warplanes.
- The government has banned 59 apps, citing the "emerging existence of risks" from mobile applications, including common Chinese applications such as TikTok, ShareIt, UCBrowser, and Weibo.
- Also, India's trade deficit with China in 2019-2020 dropped to $48.66 billion due to the decrease in imports. In 2018-19, the trade deficit stood at $53.56 billion, and in 2017-18, $63 billion.
- Nevertheless, the border tensions, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic, shed light on India's economic dependency on China.
- In many important and strategically sensitive industries, India remains dependent on Chinese goods, from semiconductors and active pharmaceutical ingredients to the telecommunications industry, where Chinese suppliers are involved not only in India's 4 G network but also in ongoing 5 G trials.
- China's Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India has fallen from $229 million in 2018-19 to $163.78 million in 2019-20.
- The Indian government tightened FDI requirements in April 2020, coming from countries that share land boundaries with India. Approval from the government was made mandatory.
SIGNIFICANCE OF PANGONG TSO LAKE CONCERNING LAC
Location: It is a long, narrow, cold, endorheic (landlocked) lake situated in the Ladakh Himalayas at an altitude of more than 13,000 ft.
Significance: It lies in the direction of the Chushul approach, one of the key approaches that China will take to the Indian-held territory for an offensive.
Governance: The Finger Sector, a set of eight cliffs extending from the Sirijap range (on the northern bank of the Lake), is overlooked.
India states that Finger 8 is coterminous with the LAC, but it only regulates the region up to Finger 4 physically.
There are Chinese border posts at Finger 8, while the LAC is believed to move via Finger 2.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE REGARDING THE CURRENT INDIA-CHINA TENSIONS ALONG LAC?
- For troops to resolve face-off events, comprehensive procedures are in effect. Countries need to adhere to the Protocol of 2005 and the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement of 2013.
- India and China marked their 70 years of diplomatic relations on April 1st, 2020. Both sides should understand that the situation is fragile and that decades of painstakingly negotiated confidence-building processes have, in particular, been undone in recent days.
- The first goal for India has to be the restoration of the status quo ante at the frontier, as was the case in April. By standing up to Chinese aggression, this will entail both a show of military strength at the border and diplomatic work by making it clear to China that its involvement will lead to heavy costs in all areas of the partnership.
- India can not afford to break all its economic ties, even in the digital room, with the world's second-largest economy. To sustain India's start-up economy, Chinese finance would help. Via Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, however, India will attempt to substitute domestic products for Chinese products in sectors where this is necessary. Also, it needs to improve its economic ties with other nations.