India and China should work towards establishing a buffer zone in dangerous areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to prevent the two sides from entering an armed conflict, a retired People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officer has suggested.
Senior Colonel (Retd) Zhou Bo of PLA said setting up buffer zones or territories where armed forces will not patrol could be an effective way of disengagement between the two countries.
“Perhaps the boldest step might be to establish buffer zones in the most dangerous areas along the LAC. Without prejudicing their respective positions on the boundary question, this is the most effective way to disengage and prevent conflict,” Bo wrote in Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) in an article titled ‘China and India should look back to move forward on border impasse’.
“Both sides agree they shall not follow or tail patrols of the other side in areas where there is no common understanding of the LAC. Building buffer zones is a step further. And it is possible, too,” Bo said.
Making a reference to the disengagement of forces on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake in February, he said, “From the mountains around Pangong Lake, a de facto buffer zone has already been established after the mutual withdrawal of troops.”