Know the Difference between LOC and LAC

22 Feb 2023  Read 25873 Views

India has had some border-related conflicts with its neighbors like China and Pakistan. These border conflicts have played a major role in the outbreak of wars. The two most famous borders in this regard are the LOC and LAC. While LAC stands for Line of Actual Control, LOC stands for Line of Control. The LOC is a demarcated, military-marked frontier separating parts of India and Pakistan- occupied Jammu and Kashmir, whereas LAC is an unclear border demarcated between India and China which is considered a mere concept by both the countries as they interpret the line on their own terms disagreeing with each other.

This article discusses the difference between LOC and LAC, the disputes across these borders and many more. So, let's get started.

What is LOC?

LOC or Line of Control is a border dividing parts of the Indian administered Jammu & Kashmir (Azad Kashmir) with Pakistan occupied Kashmir (Gilgit- Baltistan region). The LOC has a length of around 776 kilometers. The southern and eastern portions of the region is called Jammu and Kashmir, that is the Indian component of LOC, which comprises of 45% of Kashmir.0

This part of Jammu & Kashmir comprises area controlled by India (Azad Kashmir) and illegally occupied by Pakistan (Gilgit- Baltistan). 

What is LAC?

LAC, or Line of Actual Control, is a boundary between China and India. It has been a big empty region. This concept came into existence via a bilateral agreement in 1993, eventhough there was no concrete settlement on ground positions between these two nations. This line, in simple words demarcates the separation between Indian controlled territory and Chinese controlled territory. The Chinese government considers LAC to be around 2,000 km, while India considers it to be 3,488 km long.

How is LAC different from LOC?

  • When Pakistan invaded J & K despite signing a standstill agreement with India’s princely state. India’s retaliation to this Pakistan’s invasion led to an Indo- Pak war, after which United Nations had to intervene, saying the J & K’s merger with India was legal. 

  • A ceasefire line was drawn based on the positions of both the armies of India and Pakistan, which bifurcated the territory between India (65%) and Pakistan (35%).

  • The ceasefire line was to begin from a point at Manawar- south of Chenab river - in Jammu and move northward till Keran

  • The ceasefire line was formalised in a Karachi Agreement signed in July 1949 between India & Pakistan with two UN observers signing as witnesses

  • Later, it was the 1971 war between India & Pakistan over the question of Bangladesh that turned this ceasefire line into the Line of Control (LoC) following the Shimla Agreement in 1972, 

  • So, there was no LoC before 1972 Shimla Agreement which was signed between India and Pakistan. This agreement sidelined the UN resolution as the two countries agreed to resolve all disputes through bilateral talks.

  • LAC unlike LOC  is just a concept-to which both the nations, India and China disagrees, both have their own concepts with respect to this line so, it is not delineated on a map or demarcated on the land.

    ​Disclaimer: This is not an accurate graphical representation of the border- lines between the countries

Difference between LOC and LAC


            Line of Control (LOC)

    Line of Actual Control (LAC)

Countries involved

India & Pakistan

India & China

Located at

Three areas of Kashmir (Azad Kashmir, Gilgit & Baltistan) occupied by Pakistan and two-thirds- Jammu, Ladakh, the Kashmir Valley, administered by India.

Covers three areas of northern Indian states: eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh), western (Ladakh, Kashmir) & middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh).


Demarcated by the militaries with several activities (face to face confrontation, firings, etc.) which take place. Comprises of Indian and Pakistan army..

Big empty regions and its approx 50 to 100 km distance is maintained between Indian & Chinese armies.

Area in Lengths

776 kilometer 


4,057 kilometer 



What is the Indo- Pak conflict across LOC?

  • After the 1948 war, India and Pakistan have had unsolved border conflicts in the Jammu Kashmir region.

  • When they entered peace, there came a demarcated ceasefire line (CFL) that was marked on the maps with both the country’s armies being present.

  • After the Shimla Agreement, which resulted from the 1971 war for Bangladeshi independence, this CFL changed to Line of Control (LoC) with little modifications.

  • Since Shimla agreement, LoC remained peaceful until it changed in the 90s because of the deterioration of the internal security situation in J&K.

  • While Pakistan was mainly responsible for the J&K crisis, Kargil and the other cross-border aggressions opened up confrontations.

  • Things calmed down with the 2003 ceasefire, which enabled India to complete the construction of a fence near the LoC to prevent Pakistan’s infiltration of terrorists into Kashmir.

  • This also facilitated the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkot routes, making way for the bus and truck services linking the two Kashmirs (one administered and the other is occupied Kashmir) for the first time in six decades

  • But, the ceasefire violations resulted the matter of LoC to heat up again by late 2015.

  • Especially 2017 was poor, with as many as 860 ceasefire violations & 32 deaths of soldiers.

What is the Indo- China border dispute across LAC?

  • India and China have many border disputes, but the major dispute is in the Ladakh region (Aksai Chin) and Arunachal Pradesh. There are claims and counterclaims

  • From China’s side, the LAC mostly corresponds to the line which it claims, it claims some 90,000 sq km of Arunachal Pradesh that is the whole state as its territory because it calls the area “Zangnan” in Chinese and considering it as part of “South Tibet".

  • When the Indian Prime Minister visited China in May 2015, the Chinese rejected the request to explain the LAC.

  • China has always termed its 1959 claim line as its border, which it considers its LAC as well, to which India disagrees.

  •  Aksai Chin is a complete Chinese administered portion of the Kashmir region, at the northernmost extent of the Indian subcontinent in south-central Asia. It is claimed by India to be part of Ladakh Union Territory.

  • Both the countries, however, reaffirmed at the Wuhan (2018) and Mahabalipuram (2019) summits that they will make efforts to "ensure stability and tranquility in the border areas."

  • The recent clashes since May 2020 at Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso Lake, and other points across LAC claimed the lives of soldiers of both countries. 

What is China’s 1959 LAC claim?

  • China’s 1959 claim line, which it considers its LAC and not agreeing with India’s take on LAC, can be traced back to the 1914 Simla Convention, which gave birth to the McMahon Line that separated Tibet from India.

  • The McMohan line is the demarcation between the Tibetan region of China and the North-east region of India.

  • The Chinese never raised any formal objection to this McMahon Line until January 1959, when Zhou Enlai, the first premier and head of government of the PRC or China, wrote a letter to then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru contesting this line.

  • Zhou also raised the issue of Aksai Chin for the first time.

  • Hence, both India and China have their own interpretations of LAC.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 275 Post(s)

She is a Legal Content Manager at Finology Legal! With a Masters in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), a BBA.LL.B from ITM University, and patent analyst training from IIPTA, she truly specializes in her field. Her passion for IPR and Criminal laws is evident from her advanced certification in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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