India-China May Consider Linking Up Military Headquarters And Regional Commands With Hotlines

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New Delhi: India and China will consider linking up military headquarters and regional commands with hotlines during the Defence Secretary level dialogue in an attempt to prevent any adventurism along the 3,488 kilometre Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries.

Sources said that the issue could be discussed in the two-day dialogue Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra is to hold with Lt General Shao Yuanming, the deputy chief of Joint Staff department, central military commission of Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) on November 13 and 14.

Specifically, in addition to the hotline between the two countries’ military headquarters, diplomates based in New Delhi and Beijing added, there is the possibility of a hotline between PLA Commander of Western Theatre Command covering Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang, and a designated Indian Army Commander. The two hotlines will address the requirements of both countries: New Delhi wanted direct contact between the heads of military operations at the headquarters and Beijing, dedicated communication between heads of regional commands as there is no centralized military operations at the PLA headquarters. India’s problem in having a dedicated hotline between regional commands is that it does not have theatre commands concept in its military. In PLA, the Western Theatre commanders manage both the Tibet and Xinjiang regions bordering India, while the Indian Army’s Northern, Central and Eastern Army commanders manage the LAC.

Former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal said that military hotlines will be helpful if they are between the highest military levels on both sides as PLA formations in Tibet should get instructions from PLA Beijing headquarters in order to maintain peace and tranquility in the LAC.

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