SRINAGAR, India May 7 India has agreed to a
Chinese demand to demolish bunkers near their de facto border in
the Himalayas, Indian military officials said, as part of a deal
to end a standoff that threatened to scupper slowly improving
Indian and Chinese soldiers faced off 100 metres (330 feet)
apart on a plateau near the Karakoram mountain range, where they
fought a war 50 years ago, for three weeks until they reached a
deal on Sunday for both sides to withdrew.
The tension had threatened to overshadow a visit by the
Indian foreign minister to Beijing on May 9. China's Premier Li
Keqiang is expected to visit India later this month.
Details of the deal have not been made public but a senior
official from the Indian army's northern command said India had
agreed to abandon and destroy bunkers in the Chumar sector,
further south along the disputed border.
"The bunkers in Chumar were dismantled after we acceded to
Chinese demand in the last flag meeting. These bunkers were
live-in bunkers," the army officer told Reuters on Tuesday.
India said up to 50 Chinese soldiers intruded into its
territory on the western rim of the Himalayas on April 15. Some
Indian officials and experts believed the incursion signalled
Chinese concern about increased Indian activity in the area.
India said the Chinese soldiers were 19 km (12 miles) beyond
the point it understands to be the border in the Ladakh region
of Kashmir, a vaguely defined line called the Line of Actual
Control, which neither side agrees on.
China denied it had crossed into Indian territory.
China won the border war they fought in 1962, which soured
relations for decades, but ties between the Asian giants have
been improving in recent years. China is India's top trade
India has been beefing up its military presence for several
years on the remote Ladakh plateau, building roads and runways
to catch up with Chinese development across the border in a
disputed area known as Aksai Chin
The decision to agree to the Chinese demand and demolish the
bunkers followed heavy criticism of the Indian government over
its handling of the incident by the opposition.
The Indian officer said earlier that Chinese officers
demanded that India stop construction of bunkers, tunnels and
huts along the Line of Actual Control, as the vaguely defined
border in place since the 1962 war is known.
They also objected to nomads crossing from India to grazing
meadows on the Chinese side, the Indian army officer said.
An official in India's Defence Ministry said on Monday the
deal to end the standoff as a "quid pro quo" and said China had
also demanded India take down listening and observation posts in
the Chumar area, which is close to a Chinese road through Tibet.
It was not clear if India was dismantling those posts.
(Reporting by Fayaz Bukhari in SRINAGAR; Additional reporting
by Nigam Prusty; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Robert