press trust of india
BEIJING, 25 JUNE: The 16th round of the India-China border talks will be held here on 28 June followed by the visit of Defence Minister A K Antony a week later as the two countries set to resume top level contacts to build on the recent visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to New Delhi.
National Security Advisor and India’s Special Representative (SR) for Sino-India border talks, Mr Shivshankar Menon, would hold the border talks with his new Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi between June 28-29, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced here today.
“The Special Representatives meeting represents another important high level contact between the two countries following Keqiang’s visit to India (last month). “Therefore China pays high attention to the meeting”, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here while announcing Menon’s visit. “The two countries will follow through on the requirements of the leaders of the two countries and maintain the negotiation momentum, safeguard the peace and tranquillity at the border areas, exchange views on bilateral relations as well as major international and regional issues and push for comprehensive and in-depth development of the bilateral relations,” she said.
The relations between the two countries enjoy sound momentum at the moment, she said, adding that the two sides maintain effective communication on the boundary issue and the border areas between the two countries are generally stable and peaceful.
This is the first round of border talks which are taking place after China’s new leadership headed by President Xi Jinping took over the power and also, this will be Yang’s first border meeting as he replaced Dai Bingguo, who was Beijing’s pointman for India for a decade.
Yang, the former Foreign Minister also holds the post of State Councillor, which makes him the country’s top diplomat. Also, this is the first time the two SRs are meeting after the unsavoury incident of Chinese troops erecting tents at the Depsang Valley in Ladakh area in April, which sparked off major diplomatic crisis between the two countries weeks ahead of Keqiang’s visit.
In her briefing today, Ms Hua skipped the reference to the Depsang problem, and instead focussed on the fast improving relations between the two countries.
“We all know that the boundary issue is a complicated issue, left over from history. The two countries have made long term efforts for settling the boundary issue,” she said. “Positive progress has already been made in the previous rounds Special Representatives meeting. For example, we have signed the agreement on guiding principles to resolve the boundary issue and have also reached some preliminary consensus on the settlement of the issue,” she said.
Though there is no official announcement yet, officials here say Mr Antony would visiting Beijing in the first week of July during which the two countries were expected to discuss the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, (BDCA).
The two countries also finalised arrangements to resume military exercises to enhance the defence contacts between the two countries. Also, both sides are working out a mechanism for dialogue between their three forces, the Army, the Navy and the Airforce in addition to the annual defence dialogue.
Officials say the border talks are currently in the second stage of the three stage process which has been agreed in the beginning.
The first stage was to do the guiding principles which resulted in the 2005 agreement on the political parameters and guiding principles for boundary settlement. The second stage is aimed at working out a framework for boundary settlement. Once a framework is put in place, the countries will proceed to actual business of drawing a
boundary.
India asserts that the dispute covered about 4,000 km, while China claims that it confined to about 2,000 km to the area of Arunachal Pradesh, which it refers as Southern Tibet.