India and China discussed ways to better establish understanding to manage airspace and avoid airspace violations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This was discussed during the routine Confidence Building Measures (CBM) talks on the ground in eastern Ladakh held earlier this week.

“At the routine CBM talks on Tuesday, there was an Air Force representative to discuss and establish understanding of airspace issues and follow the established agreements,” an official source confirmed.

These talks come in the backdrop of the recent airspace violations by Chinese fighter jets as they came very close to the LAC while taking part in annual exercises, prompting the Indian Air Force to scramble its fighters. The issue of recent violations was raised by the Indian side during the talks, it has been learnt.

As per the existing agreements between India and China, operation of fighter aircraft and armed helicopters is restricted to a distance from the LAC. According to the ‘Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the LAC in India-China Border Area’ of 1996, “combat aircraft (to include fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, military trainer, armed helicopter and other armed aircraft) shall not fly within 10 km of the LAC.”

The LAC is not fully demarcated and there are differences of perception on the alignment due to which such incidents keep happening, another official noted. To maintain peace and tranquillity along the LAC, the two sides regularly hold talks at various levels on the ground.

Since the stand-off began in eastern Ladakh in May 2020, both sides have forward deployed air assets along the LAC and also augmented bases and air defences.