India China LAC: There is no Line of Actual Control between India and China … Read full reply of Central Government on RTI

Mumbai: In the midst of a tussle between India and China over territorial rights, a businessman sought an RTI. In response to the Pune businessman, the government said that in fact there is no Line of Actual Control between the two countries. The information was sought by Pune-based businessman Prafulla Sarada under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. To which this answer has come out from the government. Sarada had sought information from the Ministry of Home Affairs about the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Home Ministry later forwarded the businessman’s RTI to the Ministry of External Affairs.

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The answer to RTI is surprising. It states that there is no commonly defined Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the border areas between India and China. The government in its April 2018 reply accepted that from time to time, differences in perception of the LAC led to avoidable situations on the ground. But if we had a common perception or agreement about LAC then it could have happened.

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The government said that it keeps trying to resolve the border dispute through meetings and flag meetings of the jawans posted on the border. The issue of LAC violations has been regularly raised through diplomatic channels as well as in the meetings of the Consultation and Coordination Working Mechanism on India-China Border Affairs.

Sarada says, ‘The Bharatiya Janata Party government has been claiming that it has protected the country from Chinese incursions in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh region. When she herself believes that there is no LAC accepted by both the sides. Then which areas has it secured and what is the actual ground situation at present?

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Interestingly, much later, the Army Headquarters refused to share information on ceasefire violations along the LAC and the June 2017 Doklam clash, citing exemption under Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act Was. According to this section of the RTI Act, the government is not bound to provide any information to the citizens, the disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relations with a foreign state or abetment of an offence.

Sarda said, ‘As far as the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan is concerned. The government has admitted about 320 ceasefire violations during the UPA regime from 2004-2013. This number increased to 11,625 between 2014 and February 2021. Similarly, why the data of ceasefire violations on LAC between India and China cannot be given to the public and the Parliament?

China is building very fast on the border, not even reducing the deployment of troops on LAC
The India-China border has been a cause of concern for the last five years. There have been many skirmishes between the armies of both the countries. In which some soldiers have also been martyred. The whole world is worried that a war might break out between two of the world’s most populous countries armed with nuclear weapons.

Recent skirmishes along the LAC include – Doklam (June 2017), Galwan Valley skirmishes (June 2020) with reports of casualties. skirmishes near Sikkim (January 2021), allegations of aerial shelling (September 2021) and a scuffle in Tawang (December 2022) in which some soldiers were injured. The disputed India-China border is 3500 kilometers long. This includes the undisputed McMahon line. Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Ladakh share borders with China.

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