An Airstrip at 16,000 Feet Becomes Meeting Point Between India and China

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An Airstrip at 16,000 Feet Becomes Meeting Point Between India and China

The Indian military delegation in Ladakh's Daulat Beg Oldie was led by Colonel BS Uppal and the Chinese delegation was led by Colonel Song Zhoanli.

Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir:  Indian and Chinese military commanders today met at one of the highest airstrips in the world, Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in Ladakh, making it the fifth border meeting point between the two sides.

"Border meetings between two militaries are critical .They are used to resolve local issues like patrols inadvertently crossing over and prevents flare-ups," a senior officer told NDTV.

DBO was the site of three week long stand-off between the two militaries in 2013 when the Chinese had objected to fortification along the Indian side in Chumur. Located in Northern Ladakh at altitude of 16,000 feet ,DBO overlooks the Karakoram Pass - an ancient trade route between Leh and China's Xinjiang province.

The meeting point at DBO is the second border meeting point to be activated in the last one year. This May, a border meeting point was opened at Kibithoo in Anjaw District, located in the extreme east of Arunachal Pradesh. Connected by hotline, the Indian and Chinese military officials had their first meeting which was conducted around the time Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited China between May 14 and May 16 this year.

Prior to these two new border meeting points, the Indian and Chinese had only three designated border meetings points to cater 3,488 Km of disputed border. These were at the Spanngur Gap at Chusul in eastern Ladakh, Bum-La near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and Nathu-La in north-eastern Sikkim.

Increasing the border meeting points is part of the new government initiative to lessen India- China border tensions. More military to military contact to sort out local issues is critical to this end. It is also part of PM Modi's overall strategy to better ties with China.

The Indian military delegation in DBO was led by Colonel BS Uppal and the Chinese delegation was led by Colonel Song Zhoanli. The meeting also marked the People's Liberation Army (PLA) day.

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