India and China signed nine agreements/Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) including the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) on 23 October 2013.
The main objective of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement is to avoid border tensions and army face-offs along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by deciding that neither side will use military capability to attack the other side nor tail patrols along the border.
The other agreements/Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) were Management of Trans- Border Rivers, MoU on Nalanda University, Cultural Exchange Programme 2013-15, MoU on Cooperation in Road Transport and Highways, MoU on Power Equipment Service Centres in India, Agreement between Delhi-Beijing on Establishment of Sister City Relationship, Agreement between Kolkata – Kunming on Establishment of Sister City Relationship.
Highlights of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA)
• India and China shall carry out border defence cooperation on the basis of their respective laws and relevant bilateral agreements.
• Both countries agreed to exchange of information including information about military exercises, aircrafts, demolition operations and unmarked mines-and take consequent measures conducive to the maintenance of peace, stability and tranquility along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas.
• Both countries agreed to work jointly to combat smuggling of arms, wildlife, wildlife articles and other contrabands.
• Both countries agreed that they shall not follow or tail patrols of the other side in areas where there is no common understanding of the line of actual control in the India-China border areas.
• In case a doubtful situation arises with reference to any activity by either side in border areas where there is no common understanding of the line of actual control, either side has the right to seek a clarification from the other side. In such cases, the clarification shall be sought and replies to them shall be conveyed through any of the mechanisms established under this Agreement.
• Both countries agreed that if the border defence forces of the two sides come to a face-to-face situation in areas where there is no common understanding of the line of actual control, both sides shall exercise maximum self-restraint, refrain from any provocative actions, not use force or threaten to use force against the other side, treat each other with courtesy and prevent exchange of fire or armed conflict.
• Both countries shall implement this Agreement without prejudice to their respective positions on the alignment of the line of actual control as well as on the boundary question.