pti & sns
BEIJING/NEW DELHI, 28 JUNE: China today said it is ready to “break new ground” with India to resolve the boundary dispute as their Special Representatives discussed the proposed Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) against the backdrop of the recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh.
Meeting for the first time after the May incident, Special Representatives of India and China today held the 16th round of boundary negotiations looking to accelerate settlement of the vexed dispute.
National Security Adviser and India’s designated Special Representative (SR) Shivshankar Menon held the first round of the two-day talks with his new Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in a “cordial and friendly atmosphere”.
“I stand ready to work with you to build on the work of our predecessors and break new ground to strive for the settlement of the China-India boundary question and to make greater progress in the China India strategic and cooperative partnership in the new period,” newly-appointed Chinese Special Representative Yang Jiechi said here.
Providing a broader perspective of talks, Mr Menon, an old China hand by virtue of his long diplomatic association in dealing with Sino-India relations, said the talks focused on strengthening the mechanism to keep peace and tranquillity on the border in the backdrop of the incursion by Chinese soldiers that sparked off major diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
Stating that the BDCA would be discussed further during next week’s visit of Defence Minister A K Antony to Beijing, (4 to 7 July), Mr Menon said, “Slowly, we are strengthening this edifice of both the dialogue mechanisms and the edifice of consultations and the mechanisms we have in place.”
He said both sides exchanged views on the BDCA. “They have come back to us recently with their ideas. There was a broad measure of agreement but we still have to do a little bit of work on the text itself. I am sure they will discuss it when Defence Minister comes here next week,” he said.
Speaking to the Indian media after the first round of talks, he said both sides today discussed the “settlement of boundary and peace and tranquillity, how to strengthen mechanisms”.
Mr Menon said the basic trajectory of relationship is good.
“It is positive, it has been steady for years actually. Secondly, we have managed to maintain peace and tranquillity and have made progress towards a boundary settlement”, he said.
“We are making progress steadily. I think the proof is in the successful way we handled Depsang, and in the way we are discussing a new Border Defen-ce Cooperation Agreement (BDCA),” said Mr Menon; the BDCA was proposed by China to better manage the situation at the border.
“It aims to set up mechanisms that will provide for consultations for communication between us so that we can improve management of the border,” he said.