ACROSS THE HIMALAYAN GAP
THREE AGREEMENTS AND FIVE PRINCIPLES BETWEEN INDIA AND CHINA
As suggested by Prof. Tan Chung, I have composed the following as a separate article to be the reference point to my ensuing piece on India-China confidence building measures. The word “Panchsheel” (also spelled as “pancasila”) denoted “Five Taboos” in the ancient Buddhist scriptures governing the personal behaviour of Indian (later Chinese and other foreign) monks. This was taken from the holy books by India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to be applicable to international behaviours of the modern states. When Nehru proposed to make panchsheel enshrine the first India-China agreement in 1954 as the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, the Chinese Premier, Zhou Enlai, readily agreed. Thus, these five principles have become the joint India-China invention.
inter-state interactions, especially their written agreements, surely make
their contribution towards evolving an environment of mutual security and
mutual confidence yet some remain more directed towards this motive than
others. In that context, this essay consists of, only the three most
important agreements which have laid the foundations and defined the
perimeters of confidence and security building measures (CSBMs) between
India and China. These include the Panchsheel
Agreement signed in Beijing on April ‘29, 1954, Agreement on
Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control which
was signed in Beijing on September 7, 1993 and the Agreement on Confidence
Building Measures in the Military Field along the Line of Actual Control
signed in New Delhi on November 29, 1996. All three agreements have been
duty ratified by both sides. Below, I present to our readers the three
documents each with an introductory note explaining the context and
historical significance of them.
The Panchsheel Agreement
known as the Panchsheel Agreement, this was basically a trade pact between China
and India streamlining their bilateral trade operations in Tibet and,
therefore, at the time of signing it was not visualised as a CSBM agreement,
though without saying it in so many words, it intended to serve the same
objectives as the latter two CSBM agreements of 1993 and 1999. The
negotiations for this agreement were held in Beijing between December 31,
1953 and April 29, 1954 at the end of which this agreement was finally
signed in Beijing.
lasting significance of this agreement lies in the fact that this was the
first document where both India and China enunciated the famous ‘Five
of peaceful coexistence which today form the centrepiece of their
current CSBMs. And being the basis in defining the code of inter-state
relations, even after 43 years Panchsheel remains an
extremely valid framework. In practical terms, however, China was the
immediate beneficiary of this agreement. India, on the other hand had felt
satisfied with its intangible gains. At least that was how Jawahalal Nehru
repeatedly explained it to his people. In terms of its concessions, it meant
that for the first time, India recognised China’s complete control over
Tibet. In this agreement India voluntarily gave up its military,
communication and postal and other rights which New Delhi had inherited from
the British in accordance with the Anglo-Tibetan Treaty of 1904. It is
strange why India did not demand any reciprocal concession? In retrospect,
this presented a rare opportunity to resolve the rest of the border dispute
which is the only basic problem between these two countries today.
non-insistence on reciprocal concessions while recognising China’s
suzerainty over Tibet by India has, of course, to be understood in the
context of the ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai” spirit of 1950s where China’s
leaders swore of “eternal peace and friendship” and Indian leadership
felt satisfied having got a written guarantee of good behaviour from China
in terms of Pachsheel being a part
of this Agreement’s Preamble. Also, such an Indian response has to be
understood in view of Nehru’s personality and beliefs, He had been
India’s sole spokesperson on foreign relations and following the death of
Gandhiji (1948) and Sardar Pate1 (1950) Jawaharlal Nehru had clearly emerged
as the single most important leader of the monolith Indian National
this Agreement in Indian Parliament, he said: “It was the recognition of
existing situation there. Historical and practical considerations
necessitated the step.” In April 1954, Nehru was still a man who sought
security in peace and trusted China’s friendly gestures.
by the tenor of Nehru’s arguments, this agreement was clearly seen as
geared towards generating mutual trust and confidence between two newly
liberated and strongly nationalistic republics. Thus, in retrospect, this
can be safely described as the first Sino-India CSBM Agreement. Whatever may
have been its reasons, had Dalai Lama not left Tibet and sought asylum in
India, this Agreement would have stood the test and been maintained as a
momentum towards greater understanding. And here, Dalai Lama’s arrival in
India in 1959 was perhaps the one most important factor that changed the
entire spirit of Sino-lndian relations. Prime Minister Zhou En-lai who
during his earlier visit to New Delhi had assured Nehru of his support in
China’s recognising the MacMahon Line as the Sine-Indian border. He,
however, wrote in his famous letter to Nehru later, saying that China had
never recognised the McMahon Line. This portended for a downward trend,
gradually resulting in deteriorating their relations and later leading to
the 1962 war. This completely changed the context in which this Agreement
had been signed and their relations remained frozen for the next two decades
or so. Below is the text of this agreement as also of the notes exchanged
between the two delegations:
GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA
GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
ON TRADE AND INTER-COURSE BETWEEN TIBET REGION
CHINA AND INDIA
Government of the Republic of India and the Central people’s Government of
the People’s Republic of China:
desirous of promoting trade and cultural intercourse between the Tibet
region of China and India and of facilitating pilgrimage and travel by the
people of China and India;
resolved to enter into the present agreement based on the following
for this purpose have appointed as their respective plenipotentiaries:
Government of the Republic of India:
H.E. Nedyam Raghavan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India accredited to the
Republic of China,
Central People’s Government of the
People’s Republic of China:
Chang Han-Fu, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Central People’s
having examined each other’s credentials and finding them in good and due
form, have agreed upon the following:
High Contracting Parties mutually agree to establish trade agencies:
The Government of India agree that the Government of China may establish
trade agencies at New Delhi, Calcutta and Kalimpong.
The Government of China agree that the Government of India may establish
bade agencies at Yatung, Gyantse and Gartok.
Trade Agencies of both parties shall be accorded the same status and same
treatment. The Trade Agents of both parties shall enjoy freedom from arrest
while exercising their functions, and shall enjoy in respect of themselves,
their wives and children who are dependent on them for their livelihood
freedom from search.
Trade Agencies of both parties shall enjoy the privileges and immunities for
couriers, mail bags and communications in code.
High Contracting Parties agree that traders of both countries known to be
customarily and specifically engaged in trade between the Tibet region of
China and India may trade at the following places:
The Government of China agree to specify (1) Yatung, (2) Gyantse and (3)
Phari as markets for trade: the Government of India agree that trade may be
carried on in India including places like (1) Kalimpong, (2) Siliguri and
(3) Calcutta, according to customary practice.
The Government of China agree to specify (1) Gartok. (2) Pulanchung (Taklakot),
(3) Gyalima-Khargo, (4) Gyanima-Chakra, (5) Ranura. (6) Dongbra, (7)
Pulling-Sumdo (3) Nabra, (9) Shangtse and (10) Tashigong as markets for
trade; the Government of India agree that in future when in accordance with
the development and need of trade between the Art district of the Tibet
region of China and India, it has become necessary to specify markets for
trade in the corresponding districts in India adjacent to the Art district
of the Tibet region of China, it will be prepared to consider on the basis
of equality and reciprocity to do so.
High Contracting Parties agree that pilgrimages by religious believers of
the two countries shall be carried on in accordance with the following
Pilgrims from India of Lamaist, Hindu and Buddhist faith may visit Kang
Rimpoche (Kailash) and Mavam Tse (Mansarowar) in the Tibet region of China
in accordance with custom.
Pilgrims from the Tibet region of China of Lamaist and Buddhist faiths may
visit Banaras, Sarnath, Gaya and Sanchi in India in accordance with custom.
Pilgrims customarily visiting Lhasa may continue to do so in accordance with
and pilgrims of both countries may travel by the following passes and
Shipki La Pass
Kungri Bingri Pass
Dana Pass, and
Lipu Lekh Pass.
the customary route leading to Tashigong along the valley of Elek Gatasangpu
(Indus river) continue to be traversed in accordance with custom.
traveling across borers, the High Contracting Parties agree that diplomatic
personnel, officials and nations of the two countries shall hold passports
issued by their own respective countries and visas by the other party except
as provided in paragraphs 1, 2. 3, and 4 of this article.
Traders of both countries known to be customarily and specifically engaged
in trade between the Tibet region of China and India, their wives and
children, who are dependent on them for livelihood and their attendants will
be allowed entry for purposes of trade into India or the Tibet region of
China, as the case may be, in accordance with custom on the production of
certificates duly issued by the local Government of their own country by its
duly authorised agents and examined by the border check posts of the other
Inhabitants of the border districts of the two countries, who cross borders
to carry on petty trade or to visit friends and relatives, may proceed to
the border districts of the other party as they have customarily done
heretofore and need not be restricted to the passes and route specified in
Article IV above and shall not be required to hold passports, visas or
Porters and mule-team drivers of the two countries who cross the border to
perform necessary transportation services need not hold passports issued by
their own country, but shall only hold certificates for a definite period of
time (good for three months, half year or one year) duly issued by the local
agents and produce them for registration at the border checkpost of the
Pilgrims of both countries need not carry documents of certification but
shall register at the border checkpost of the other party and receive a
permit for pilgrimage.
Notwithstanding the provisions of the foregoing paragraph of this article,
either Government may refuse entry to any particular person.
Persons who enter the territory of the other party in accordance with the
foregoing paragraphs of this article may stay within its territory only
after complying with the procedures specified by the other party.
present agreement shall come into effect upon ratification by both
Governments and shall remain in force for eight years. Extension of the
present agreement may be negotiated by the two parties if either party
requests for it six months prior to the expiry of the agreement and the
request is agreed to by the other party.
in duplicate in Peking on April 29, 1954, in Hindi, Chinese and English
languages, all text being equally valid.
of the Central Government of the People’s Republic of China - CHANG HAN-FU
of the Government of the Republic of India - N RAGHAVAN
OF NOTES EXCHANGED
THE DELEGATIONS OF INDIA AND CHINA
Peking, April 29, 1954
Excellency, Mr. Vice-Foreign Minister,
the course of our discussion regarding the agreement on trade and
intercourse between the Tibet region of China and India, which has happily
concluded on Thursday (April 29) the delegation of the Government of the
Republic of India and the delegation of the Government of the People’s
Republic of China agreed that certain matters be regulated by an exchange of
notes. In pursuance of this understanding, it is hereby agreed between the
two Governments as follows:
The Government of India will be pleased to withdraw completely within six
months from date of exchange of the present notes the military escort now
stationed at Yatung and Gyantse in the Tibet region of China. The Government
of China will render facilities and assistance in such withdrawal.
The Government of India will be pleased to hand over to the Government of
China at a reasonable price the post, telegraph and public telephone
services together with their equipment operated by the Government of India
in the Tibet region of China. The concrete measures in this regard will be
decided upon through further negotiations between the Indian Embassy in
China and the Foreign Ministry of China, which shall start immediately after
the exchange of the present notes.
The Government of India will be pleased to hand over to the Government of
China at a reasonable price the twelve rest-houses of the Government of
India in the Tibet region of China. The concrete measures in this regard
will be decided upon through further negotiations between the Indian Embassy
in China and the Foreign Ministry of China which will start immediately
after the exchange of the present notes. The Government of China agree that
they shall continue as rest-houses.
The Government of China agree that all buildings within the compound wall of
the Trade Agencies of the Government of India at Yatung and Gyantse in the
Tibet region of China may be retained by the Government of India; and the
Government of India may continue to lease the land within its agency
compound wall from the Chinese side. And the Government of India agree that
the Trade Agencies of the Government of China at Kalimpong and Calcutta may
lease lands from the Indian side for the use of the Agencies and construct
buildings thereon. The Government of China will render every possible
assistance for housing the Indian Trade Agency at Gartok. The Government of
India will also render every possible assistance for housing the Chinese
Trade Agency at New Delhi.
The Government of India will be pleased to return to the Government of China
all land used or occupied by the Government of India other than the lands
within its Trade Agency compound wall at Yatung.
there are godowns and buildings of the Government of India on the
above-mentioned land used or occupied and to be returned by the Government
of India and if Indian traders have stores or godowns or buildings on the
above-mentioned land so that there is a need to continue leasing land, the
Government of China agree to sign a contract with the Government of India or
Indian traders, as the case may be, for leasing to them those parts of the
land occupied by the said godowns, buildings or stores and pertaining
The Trade Agents of both parties may, in accordance with the laws and
regulations of the local government, have access to their nationals involved
in civil or criminal cases.
The Trade Agents and traders of both countries may hire employees in the
The hospitals of the Indian Trade Agencies at Gyantse and Yatung will
continue to serve personnel of the Indian Trade Agencies.
Each Government shall protect the person and property of the traders and
pilgrims of the other country.
The Government of China agree, so far as possible, to construct rest-houses
for use of pilgrims along the route from Pulanchung (Taklakot) to Kang
Rimpoche (Kailash) and Mavam Tse (Manasarowar), and the Government of India
agree to place all possible facilities in India at the disposal of pilgrims.
Traders and pilgrims of both countries shall have the facilities of hiring
means of transportation at normal and reasonable rates.
The three Trade Agencies of each party may function throughout the year.
Traders of each country may rent buildings and godowns in accordance with
local regulations in places under the jurisdiction of the other party.
Traders of both countries may carry on normal trade in accordance with local
regulations at places as provided in Article II of the agreement.
Disputes between traders of both countries over debts and claims shall be
handled in accordance with local laws and regulations.
behalf of the Government of the Republic of India, I hereby agree that the
present note, along with your reply, shall become an agreement between our
two Governments which shall come into force upon the exchange of the present
avail myself of this opportunity to express to you the assurances of my
Plenipotentiary of the
Republic of India
29 April 1954
Peking, April 29, 1954
Excellency Mr Ambassador
have the honour to receive your note dated April 29, 1954 which reads:
behalf of the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of
China, I hereby agree to Your Excellency’s note, and your note along with
the present note in reply shall become an agreement between our two
Governments, which shall come into force upon the exchange of the present
notes. I avail myself of this opportunity to express to Your Excellency, Mr
Ambassador, the assurances of my highest consideration.
of Foreign Affairs,
People’s Republic of China
The CSBM Agreement of 1993
was the first document which was so clearly focussed on evolving a framework
of CSBMs between India and China. In the context of the post-Cold War era of
disarmament, this also became Asia’s first major agreement on conventional
military disengagement which has resulted in effecting actual disarmament
(not just arms control) between two former adversaries and that too without
any role played by third countries.
new spirit towards expanding mutual understanding and cooperation had
resulted following the historic visit in December 1988 to Beijing by Prime
Minister Rajiv Gandhi which was followed by a spate of other high-level
visits from both sides including visit by Chinese Premier, Li Peng, to India
in December 1991 and by Indian President, R. Venkataraman, to China in May
1992. This was followed by the visit of Prime Minister PV. Narasimha Rao to
Beijing in September 1993 during which this agreement was initialed by both
sides along with various other agreements. This agreement has since resulted
in generating new enthusiasm in the working of Sine-India Joint Working
Group on Boundary Question which during its Eighth Round in New Delhi
(August 1995) agreed to dismantle four closest military posts on the border
and setting up four border trade ports as also
meeting points between their military personnel on the border. Expansion in
their interactions in the border region can be cited as another positive
result of mutual confidence that this agreement has generated during these
last few years, In fact, the second CSBM agreement signed in November 1996
has been described as continuation of this positive process initiated by
this first CSBM agreement of September 1993. Below is the text of this
GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA
GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
THE MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND TRANQUILUTY
THE UNE OF ACTUAL CONTROL IN THE INDIA CHINA BORDER AREAS
Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s
Republic of China, (hereinafter referred to as the two sides), have entered
into the present agreement in accordance with the five principles of mutual
respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression, non
interference into each others internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit
and peaceful coexistence and with a view to maintaining peace and
tranquillity along the line of actual control in the India-China border
two sides are of the view that the India-China boundary question shall be
resolved through peaceful and friendly consultations. Neither side shall use
or threaten to use force against the other by any means. Pending an ultimate
solution to the boundary question between the two countries, the two sides
shall strictly respect and observe the line of actual control between the
two sides. No activities of either side shall overstep the line of actual
control. In case personnel of one side cross the line of actual control,
upon being cautioned by the other side, they shall immediately pull back to
their own side of the line of actual control. When necessary, the two sides
shall jointly check and determine the segments of the line of actual control
where they have different views as to its alignment.
side will keep its military forces in the areas along the line of actual
control to a minimum level compatible with the friendly and good neighbourly
relations between the two countries. The two sides agree to reduce their
military forces along the line of actual control in conformity with the
requirements of the principle of mutual and equal security to ceilings to be
mutually agreed. The extent, depth, timing and ‘nature of reduction of
military forces along the line of actual control shall be determined through
mutual consultation between the two countries. The reduction of military
forces shall be carried out by stages in mutually agreed geographical
locations sector wise within the areas along the line of actual control.
sides shall work out through consultations effective confidence building
measures in the areas along the line of actual control. Neither side will
undertake specified levels of military exercises in mutually identified
zones. Each side shall give the other prior notification of military
exercises of specified levels near the line of actual control permitted
under this Agreement.
case of contingencies or other problems arising in the areas along the line
of actual control, the two sides shall deal with them through meetings and
friendly consultations between border personnel of the two countries. The
form of such meetings and channels of communications between the border
personnel shall be mutually agreed upon by the two sides.
two sides agree to take adequate measures to ensure that air intrusions
across the line of actual control do not take place and shall undertake
mutual consultations should intrusions occur. Both sides shall also consult
on possible restrictions on lair exercises in areas to be mutually agreed
near the line of actual control.
two sides agreed that references to the line of actual control in this
agreement do not prejudice their respective positions on the boundary
two sides shall agree through consultations on the form, method, Scale and
content of effective verification measures and supervision required for the
reduction of military forces and the maintenance of peace and tranquillity
in the areas along the line of actual control under this agreement.
side of the India-China Joint Working Group on the Boundary Question shall
appoint diplomatic and military experts to formulate, through mutual
consultations, implementation measures for the present Agreement. The
experts shall advise the Joint Working Group on the resolution of
differences between the two sides on the alignment of the line of actual
control and address issues relating to the redeployment with a view to
reduction of military forces in the areas along the line of actual control.
The experts shall also assist the Joint Working Group in supervision of the
implementation of the Agreement, and settlement of differences that may
arise in that process, based on the principle of good faith and mutual
present Agreement shall come into effect as of the date of signature and is
subject to amendment and addition by agreement of the two sides.
in duplicates at Beijing on the 7th September, 1993 in the Hindi. Chinese
and English languages, all three texts having equal validity.
For the Government of For the Government of
Republic of India
Extending CSBMs to ,Military Field
on November 29, 1996, during the historic visit by President Jiang Zemin to
New Delhi, this agreement has been generally described as one that marks the
completion of the positive process of evolving Sino-Indian CSBMs.
Commentators from both sides have described this document as the first “No
War” Pact between China and India. The strength of this agreement lies in
its being very specific in pointing out their areas of agreement, something
which is generally not possible amongst former adversaries who continue to
have major disagreements on their boundary question. Also, the fact that
this agreement was signed in the context of the historic visit by China’s
President, Jiang Zemin to India which was the first visit by a Chinese head
of State in the history of these two ancient civilisations of over 5,000
years has revived the spirit of cooperation that was initiated by their
earlier agreement in 1993 and it is this spirit of cooperation that today
appears to be the salient feature of their multifaceted interactions. The
agreement has since been ratified by bath sides and the Instruments of
Ratification were exchanged by both sides during the Tenth meeting of
Sino-Indian Joint Working Group in New Delhi in August 1997. Apart from
signalling the completion of basic framework of CSBMs, this agreement also
marks the beginning of major initiatives in actually resolving the border
dispute and initial steps towards this have been incorporated in the
document. The agreement reads:
GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA
GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES IN THE MILITARY FIELD ALONG
LINE OF ACTUAL CONTROL IN THE INDIA-CHINA BORDER AREAS
Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s
Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the two sides),
that it serves the fundamental interests of the peoples of India and China
to foster a long-term good neighbourly relationship in accordance with the
five principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity,
mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each others internal affairs,
equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence,
that the maintenance of peace and tranquillity along the line of actual
control in the India-China border areas accords with the fundamental
interests of the two peoples and will also contribute to the ultimate
resolution of the boundary question,
that neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other by
any means to seek unilateral military superiority,
to the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the
Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Maintenance of Peace
and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border
the need for effective confidence building measures in the military field
along the line of actual control in the border areas between the two sides,
the utility of confidence building measures already in place along the line
of actual control in the India-China border areas,
to enhancing mutual confidence and transparency in the military field,
agreed as follows:
side shall use its military capability against the other side. No armed
forces deployed by either side in the border areas along the line of actual
control as part of their respective military strength shall be used to
attack the other side, or engage in military activities that threaten the
other side or undermine peace, tranquillity and stability in the India-China
two sides reiterate their determination to seek a fair, reasonable and
mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question. Pending an ultimate
solution to the boundary question, the two sides reaffirm their commitment
to strictly respect and observe the line of actual control in, the
India-China border areas, No activities of either side shall overstep the
line of actual control.
two sides agree to take the following measures to reduce or limit their,
respective military forces within mutually agreed geographical zones along
the line of actual control in the India-China border areas:
The two sides reaffirm that they shall reduce or limit their respective
military forces within mutually agreed geographical zones along the line of
actual control in the India-China border areas to minimum levels compatible
with the friendly and good neighbourly relations between the two countries
and consistent with the principle of mutual and equal security.
The two sides shall reduce or limit the number of field army, border defence
forces, para-military forces and any other mutually agreed category of armed
forces deployed in mutually agreed geographical zones along the line of
actual control to ceilings to be mutually agreed upon. The major categories
of armaments to be reduced or limited are as follows: combat tanks, infantry
combat vehicles, guns (including howitzers) with 75 mm or bigger calibre,
mortars with 120 mm or bigger calibre, surface-to-surface missiles,
surface-to-air missiles and any other weapon system mutually agreed upon.
The two sides shall exchange data on the military forces and armaments to be
reduced or limited and decide on ceilings on military forces and armaments
to be kept by each side within mutually agreed geographical zones along the
line of actual control in the India-China border areas. The ceilings shall
be determined in conformity with the requirement of the principle of mutual
and equal security, with due consideration being given to parameters such as
the nature of terrain, road communications and other infrastructure and time
taken to induct/deincfuct troops and armaments.
In order to maintain peace and tranquillity along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas and to prevent any tension in the border areas due to misreading by either side of the other side’s intentions:
Both sides shall avoid holding large scale military exercises involving more
than one Division (approximately 15,000 troops) in close proximity of the
line of actual control in the India-China border areas. However, if such
be conducted, the strategic direction of the main force involved shall not
be towards the other side.
If either side conducts a major military exercise involving more than one
Brigade (approximately 5,000 troops) in close proximity of the line of
actual control in the India-China border areas, it shall give the other side
prior notification with regard to type, level, planned duration and
formations participating in the exercise.
The date of completion of the exercise and deinduction of troops from the
areas of exercise shall be intimated to the other side within five days of
completion or deinduction.
Each side shall be entitled to obtain timely clarification from the side
undertaking the exercise in respect of data specified in Paragraph 2 of the
With a view to preventing air intrusions across the line of actual control in the India-China border areas and facilitating overflights and landings by military aircraft:
Both sides shall take adequate measures to ensure that air intrusions across
the line of actual control do not take place. However, if an intrusion does
take place, it should cease as soon as detected and the incident shall be
promptly investigated by the side operating the aircraft. The results of the
investigation shall be immediately communicated, through diplomatic channels
or at border personnel meetings, to the other side.
Subject to Paragraphs 3 and 5 of this Article, combat aircraft (to include
fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, military trainer, armed helicopter and
other armed aircraft) shall not fly within ten kilometers of the line of
If either side is required to undertake flights of combat aircraft within
ten kilometers from the line of actual control, it shall give the following
information in advance to the other side, through diplomatic channels:
Type and number of combat aircraft;
Height of the proposed flight (in meters);
Proposed duration of flights (normally not to exceed ten days);
Proposed timing of flights: and
Area of operations defined in latitude and longitude.
Unarmed transport aircraft, survey aircraft and helicopters shall be
permitted to fly up to the line of actual control.
No military aircraft of either side shall fly across the line of actual
control, except by prior permission. Military aircraft of either side may
fly across the line of actual control or overfly the other side’s airspace
or land on the other side only after obtaining the latter’s prior
permission after providing the latter with detailed information on the
flight in accordance with the international practice in this regard.
the above stipulation, each side has the sovereign right to specify
additional conditions, including at short notice, for flights or lands of
military aircraft of the other side on its side of the line of actual
control or through its airspace.
In order to ensure flight safety in emergency situations, the authorities
designated by the two sides may contact each other by the quickest means of
a view to preventing dangerous military activities along the line of actual
control in the India-China border areas, the two sides agree as follows:
Neither side shall open fire, cause biodegradation, use hazardous chemicals,
conduct blast operations or hunt with guns or explosives within two
kilometers from the line of actual control. This prohibition shall not apply
to routine firing activities in small arms firing ranges.
If there is a need to conduct blast operations within two kilometers of the
line of actual control as part of developmental activities, the other side
shall be informed through diplomatic channels or by convening a border
personnel meeting, preferably five days in advance.
While conducting exercises with live ammunition in areas close to the line
of actual control, precaution shall be taken to ensure that a bullet or a
missile does not accidentally fall on the other side across the line of
actual control and causes harm to the personnel or property of the other
(4) If the border personnel of the two sides come in a face-to-face situation due to differences on the alignment of the line of actual control or any other reason, they shall exercise self-restraint and take all necessary steps to avoid an escalation of the situation. Both sides shall also enter into immediate consultations through diplomatic and/or other available channels to review the situation and prevent any escalation of tension.
order to strengthen the cooperation between their military personnel and
establishments in the border areas along the line of actual control, the two
To maintain and expand the regime of scheduled and flag meetings between
their border representatives at designated places along the line of actual
To maintain and expand telecommunication links between their border meeting
points at designated places along the line of actual control:
To establish step-by-step medium and high-level contacts between the border
authorities of the two sides.
(1) Should the personnel of one side cross the line of actual control and enter the other side because of unavoidable circumstances like natural disasters, the other side shall extend all possible assistance to them and inform their side, as soon as possible, regarding the forced or inadvertent entry across the line of actual control. The modalities of return of the concerned personnel to their own side shall be settled through mutual consultations.
(2) The two sides shall
provide each other, at the earliest possible, with information pertaining to
natural disasters and epidemic disasters in contiguous border areas which
might affect the other side. The exchange of information shall take place
either through diplomatic channels or at border personnel meetings,
case a doubtful situation develops in the border region, or in case one of
the sides has some questions or doubts regarding the manner in which the
other side is observing this Agreement, either side has the right to seek a
clarification from the other side. The clarifications sought and replies to
them shall be conveyed through diplomatic channels.
Recognising that the full implementation of some of the provisions of the
present Agreement will depend on the two sides arriving at a common
understanding of the alignment of the line of actual control in the
India-China border areas, the two sides agree to speed up, the process of
clarification and confirmation of the line of actual control. As an initial
step in this process, they are clarifying the alignment of the line of
actual control in those segments where they have different perceptions. They
also agree to exchange maps indicating their respective perceptions of the
entire alignment of the line of actual control as soon as possible.
Pending the completion of the process of clarification and confirmation of
the line of actual control, the two sides shall work out modalities for
implementing confidence building measures envisaged under this Agreement on
an interim basis, without prejudice to their respective positions on the
alignment of the line of actual control as well as the boundary question.
implementation measures required under Article I to X of this Agreement
shall be decided through mutual consultations in the India-China Join!
Working Group on the Boundary Question. The India-China Diplomatic and
Military experts Group shall assist the India-China Joint Working Group in
devising implementation measures under the Agreement.
Agreement is subject to ratification and shall enter into force on the date
of exchange of instruments of ratification.
shall remain in effect until either side decides to terminate it after
giving six months’ notice in writing. It shall become invalid six months
after the notification.
agreement is subject to amendment and addition by mutual agreement in
writing between the two sides.
in duplicates in New Delhi on 29 November, 1996 in the Hindi, Chinese and
English languages, all three texts, being equally authentic. In case of
divergence, the English text shall prevail.
For the Government of For the Government of the
Republic of India
People’s Republic of China
presented these three historic Sino-lndian CSBM agreements, the single most
important element that comes to the fore lies in the sustained mutual
commitment from both these countries towards the sanctity of what is known
as the Panchsheel. These Five
Principles of peaceful co-existence not only represent the very soul of
Sino-Indian friendship and understanding but also form the common thread
that provides continuity and joins these three agreements together, Panchsheel,
therefore, can be safely described as the very core and the very essence
of these three agreements that represent the successful termination of two
different phases of flux and friction in Sine-Indian relations. These Five
Principles have since been adopted not only in various other Sino-Indian
agreements and other bilateral documents but have also been presented to the
world as an ideal framework for peaceful and stable inter-state relations.
During the historic visit by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to Beijing in
December 1968, China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping had, in fact,
proposed that both China and India should work together and present
Panchsheel as the basic framework for defining the new world order of
post-Cold War world.
individually, the 1954 Panchsheel Agreement formed the cradle of these
historic Five Principles of Panchsheel. To start with, the Agreement had
sought to put behind some of historical entanglements of the Sino-lndian
ties, albeit incomprehensibly, By invoking the spirit of Panchsheel -which
also have cultural connotations for being the integral core of Buddhist
preaching - this agreement had once emerged as the strongest force in
combining the people of these two civilizational-states of China and India.
However, despite the fact that there was nothing wrong in the formulation of
this agreement’s letter and spirit, the attack on it came, as I have
alluded to earlier, from a deteriating atmosphere not generated from this
agreement itself. For one thing, both the young republics were intoxicated
in copious patristic nationalist alcohol. For another, there was the cold
war developing from strength to strength, and India and China were
unwittingly sucked into its whirlpool.
the Agreement lapsed, in 1962, it has stood as a shining document with an
immortal guiding principle in international affairs.
1993 and 1996 agreements have closed a chapter which had been the most
unpleasant in tine history between the two countries. They have ended the
eyeball to eyeball confrontation over the Himalayan peaks, have stopped
making the holy range a hot spot in international conflict. Here, too, the
spirit of Panchsheel was brought to play.
from various other factors like historical legacies, evolved conventions,
and mutual perceptions, treaties remain the most widely accepted and most
legitimate legal instrument that defines and determines the code of conduct
for inter-state interactions. These three agreements assume special
significance when signed by two nation-states which may be either widely
different in terms of their histories, languages, cultures, political
systems or levels of development or which may have fallen prey to
unfavourable atmospherics generated by their not-so-friendly or conflictual
relations. In fact, treaties have always had a special place in terminating
inter-state wars or in resolving other inter-state disputes. Though, such a
tradition of treaty-making can be traced back to the ancient times yet, the
two World Wars and the consequent emergence of the League of Nations and
United Nations have particularly clauses and principles, it soon fell prey
to the difficult ground realities and unfavourable circumstances. The 1954
Agreement was allowed to lapse at the end of its E-year life because the
bilateral atmosphere in 1962 was too unfriendly to extend its existence. It
was precisely because of this change in the ambiance in which this agreement
was conceived that it could not bear fruition. Nevertheless, in looking
back, it has stood as one most shining document in the historical times and
its Five Principles of Panchsheel have found their place of pride in various
other international treaties and other inter-state documents. This agreement
has also continued to be the guiding force for all the latter Sino-Indian
initiatives towards renewing their friendship and building confidence.
other two CSBM agreements of 1993 and 1996 mark the continuation of the
first Sine-Indian Panchsheel Agreement, both in letter and spirit. In the
same manner, they also mark the success of Sino-Indian rapprochement
that has been so assiduously evolved since the mid-1970s. These two
agreements finally have closed the sad chapter in Sine-Indian ties which had
witnessed the longest freeze in post-independence diplomatic relations as
also an actual shooting war followed by incidents of eyeball-to-eyeball
antagonism making the Himalayan gap not only insurmountable but also one of
the dangerous international boundaries on the earth. But more than that,
these two CSBM agreements underline important steps agreed mutually to guide
Sino-Indian relationship towards the goal of greater friendship, more
transparency and a future pattern of mutual trust, peace and friendship
between the two Asian giants. However, sceptics have continued to describe
them as only pious and good intentions and complain that these have not been
followed by action. This argument does remain valid to a certain extent. But
considering the magnitudes of complications that engulf Sine-Indian ties,
even good intentions obtain special significance once put on paper in black
and white. In the end, therefore, despite their limited and slow pace of
success, these agreements definitely have much greater historical
significance than what meets the eyes at a first glance. They also initiated
a spirit of looking at each other in the bilateral relations setting up
rules and regulations that govern the operations for the ground activities.
Lately, with rapid developments in the fields of science and technology,
rising interstate awareness, synergy and interdependence have tremendously
increased the significance of what have come to be known as the confidence
building treaties. These treaties, as a first step, seek to contain (not
eliminate), the possible chances of inter-state conflict, especially those
that may be completely unpredictable in their nature, timings and magnitude.
And here, though, all inter-state agreements, in a way, make contribution
towards evolving an environment of mutual security and mutual confidence yet
some of these remain more clearly directed towards this motive than others.
that Sine-Indian ties present one of the most complicated examples of
inter-state relations, treaties signed by these two countries have been
repeatedly subjected to varied debates and interpretations. By presenting my
introductory piece to the volume which is dedicated to an overall
improvement of atmosphere between the two contries, my humble submission is
to draw attention from the ruling elites and the wider circles of India and
China to the flowering and function of mutual trust and good will that have
been achieved against the background of enormous misunderstanding and
inexperienced handling of the bilateral problems bequeathed by history.
is significant to note that both the 1993 and 1996 India-China agreements
quoted the five principles of the 1954 Agreement verbatim without invoking
the name “Panchsheel”. This is tantamount to the partial resurrection of
the historic 1954 Agreement. This is further proved form the attempts of the
two agreements of the 1990s to revive border trade, which was one of the
central cencerns of the 1994 agreement. The two 1990s agreements, thus, like
their 1954 predecessor, served to put behind a portion of irritants and
misgivings between the two countries in the interim period of four decades.
©1998 Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without written permission of the publisher.
Published in 1998 by
Gyan Publishing House
5, Ansari Road, Darya Ganj,
New Delhi - 110 002.