Ceremonial Border Personnel Meetings between Indian and Chinese armies that were to be held at the India-China border on Friday to mark the occasion of Labour Day or International Workers Day will not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Indian side will instead be wishing their Chinese counterpart over the phone.
Labour Day is celebrated annually on May 1 to celebrate the working class and labourers across the world. On this day, ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting (BPMs) are held between the Indian Army and Chinese PLA at five established locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)- Daulat Beg Oldie and Chushul in Ladakh, Bum La and Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh, and Nathu La in Sikkim.
BPMs are ceremonial meetings that are held every year between the Indian Army and Chinese PLA on auspicious occasions for the two nations, which besides May 1 also include Independence Day, Republic Day and PLA Day (August 1). During the meetings, the two armies engage in discussions, sports and group activities, which are meant to ensure peace at the LAC and harmony between each other.
This time, however, the BPMs will not be held on May 1 due to the coronavirus outbreak. “Ceremonial BPMs are hosted by the PLA for celebrating International Workers Day. But, the BPMs will not be taking place, due to the coronavirus situation. We will be wishing them over the phone,” an official said on the condition of anonymity.
Greetings would be exchanged through the hotlines established at the five BPM huts. Under normal circumstances, the Chinese side would have hosted the Indian officials on their side of the border.
For example, last October a ceremonial BPM was held at Damai, which is on the Chinese side and is about a three-km walk away from Wacha in the Kibithu sector, where the Indian side would host the Chinese on Republic Day and Independence Day. Other Chinese BPM huts are Moldo opposite Chushul and TWD opposite Daulat Beg Oldie.