As tensions between India and China continue along the current Line of Actual Control (LAC), let us see what the line actually means on the ground and disagreements:
What is LAC?
LAC i.e. line of actual control is the dividing line between the territory controlled by the Indians and the territory controlled by the Chinese. India considers the LAC region to be 3,488 km long; while the Chinese estimate that it is only 2,000 km long. It is divided into three sectors:
- the eastern sector that extends over Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim,
- the intermediate sector in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and
- The western sector in Ladakh.
What is the disagreement?
LAC's alignment in the area is along the 1914 McMahon line, and there are minor disputes regarding positions on the ground according to the principle of the upper Himalaya basin. This also refers to the international border of India, but for certain regions such as Longju and Asaphila.
The line in the middle sector is the least controversial, but for the precise alignment to follow on the Barahoti plains. The main disagreements are in the western sector, where LAC emerged from two letters written by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1959, after first mentioning this “line” in 1956.
In his letter Zhou said that LAC was made up of “the so-called McMahon line to the east and the line up to which each side exercises effective control to the west. After the 1962 war, the Chinese claimed that they withdrew 20 km behind LAC in November 1959.
Zhou again told LAC after the war in another letter to Nehru: “To put it concretely, in the eastern sector, it generally coincides with the so-called McMahon line, and in the western and intermediate sectors, it mainly coincides with the traditional traditional line that China has always emphasized.”During the Doklam crisis in 2017, the Word from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged India to comply with “LAC 1959”.
India's response to China's designation of the LAC?
India rejected the FTA concept in 1959 and 1962. Even during the war, Nehru was unequivocal: “There is no point or point in the Chinese offer to withdraw twenty kilometers from what they call the” effective line of control. “What is this “line of control”? Is this the line they have created by aggression since the beginning of September? “
When did India accept the LAC?
India officially accepted the concept of the LAC when Rao paid a return visit to Beijing in 1993 and the two sides signed the Agreement to maintain peace and tranquility in the LAC. The reference to LAC was not qualified to make it clear that it did not refer to LAC from 1959 or 1962, but to LAC at the time of the signing of the agreement. To reconcile differences in certain areas, the two countries agreed that the Joint Working Group on Borders would be responsible for clarifying the alignment of the LAC.
India and China exchanged their maps of the LAC only for the intermediate sector, the cards have been “shared” for the western sector, but have never been officially exchanged, and the LAC clarification process has stalled since 2002. In addition, there is no publicly accessible card representing the Indian version of LAC. During their visit to China in May 2015, the Chinese rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposal to clarify the LAC.
Is the LAC also the claim line for both countries?
Not for India, the Indian claim line is the line visible on the official boundary line shown on maps published by the Survey of India, including Aksai Chin and Gilgit-Baltistan. In the case of China, this mainly corresponds to its claim line, but in the eastern sector, it claims all of Arunachal Pradesh like southern Tibet. However, the lines of complaints are questioned when a discussion is held about the final international limits, not when the conversation is about a border that works, according to LAC.
Claim lines in Ladakh?
Independent India transferred British treaties, and although Shimla's McMahon Line agreement was signed by British India, Aksai Chin in Ladakh province of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was not part of British India, although it was part of the British Empire. Therefore, the eastern border was well defined in 1914, but to the west in Ladakh, it was not.
In the problem of the border between India and China 1846-1947 that the Minister of State Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel published two white papers on the Indian States. The first, in July 1948, contained two maps: one showing no border in the western sector, only a partial tint; the second extended the wash color to yellow for the entire J&K state, but mentioned “limit undefined”.
The second White Paper was published in February 1950 after India became a Republic, where the map again had undefined limits. In July 1954, Nehru issued a directive that “all of our old maps relating to this border should be carefully examined and, if necessary, removed.
New maps showing our north and northeast borders should be printed without any reference to “lines”. The new cards must also be sent to our embassies abroad and must be presented to the general public and used in our schools, colleges, etc. “This card, as officially used to date, formed the basis of the agreements with China, which ultimately led to the war of 1962.
Difference between LAC and LOC?
LoC was born out of the 1948 ceasefire line negotiated by the UN after the Kashmir War. It was designated as LoC in 1972, following the Shimla agreement between the two countries. It is delimited on a map signed by the DGMOs of the two armies and has the international character of a legal agreement. LAC, on the other hand, is just a concept; it is not accepted by both countries, neither delimited on a map nor delimited on the ground.