THE CONTEXT: The Indian Army said that a military hotline has been established with the Chinese side in north Sikkim.
- A hotline is a direct telephone line connection between two parties.
- It will boost the spirit of trust and cordial relations between the two countries along the Line of Actual Control in the region.
- The inauguration was attended by ground commanders of the respective Armies and a message of friendship and harmony was exchanged through the Hotline.
- The hotline is between the Indian Army in Kongra La, North Sikkim, and China’s People’s Liberation Army at Khamba Dzong in the Tibetan Autonomous Region,
- These hotlines in various sectors go a long way in enhancing the same and maintaining peace and tranquility at the borders.
- India and China already have two military hotlines in eastern Ladakh – at Chushul and Daulat Beg Oldi in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
- In February, the foreign ministers of India and China had agreed to establish a new hotline to ensure a “timely communication” in the backdrop of the Ladakh stand-off.
BACKGROUND OF THE ISSUE
- India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June last year.
- Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China put the number of casualties on its side at four.
- The setting up of the hotline came amid a continued standoff between the two armies at various friction points in eastern Ladakh such as Hot Springs, Gogra Post, Demchok and Depsang Plains.
- India and China had held the 12th round of Corps Commander talks on July 31 in Moldo on the Chinese side,
- In the previous meeting on April 9, the two sides discussed the withdrawal of troops from other friction points, after the completion of the disengagement process in Pangong Tso
- However, days after the talks, reports suggested that China has refused to withdraw its troops from Hot Springs and Gogra Post