Beijing: India and China can quickly resolve their vexed boundary dispute as they have governments with strong mandates to reach an agreement with most of the spadework already completed, former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon has said.
While the border remained largely peaceful in the last three decades without a gunshot fired, emotions run high in both countries with "scary stories", Menon said in a lengthy interaction with students of the Peking University here after speaking on 'India's National Security Strategy and India-China Relations' Tuesday night.
"There are a lot of scary stories, especially on the internet. If you read internet opinion in India and China runs very hot. That is the world we live today. That is why we say the quicker we can settle (border dispute), the better. Because the ultimate conflict resolution tool is really settling the boundary," said Menon, who was the designated Special Representatives for Sino-India boundary dispute under the UPA government.
"I think we can do it. Because we have governments in both the countries today who have strong mandates and very clear strategic ideas where they want to take their countries," said Menon, who took part in the interaction along with his long standing former Chinese Sino-India boundary negotiator Dai Bingguo.
"To my mind, we have a moment we can actually do it today. I think all the technical work has been done by Dai Bingguo and his Indian counterparts. I say this in India and here this boundary can be settled. It is time we settle, the quicker we do it, the better," he said.
Endorsing Menon's remarks, Dai who was China's Special Representative for the boundary talks since they were established in 2003 and headed the 15 of the 17 rounds of held so far, said, "If we address the boundary issue the potential for cooperation will be fully tapped."
"The two sides should make efforts to address the boundary issue as early as possible," Dai said.
"Of course we cannot solve it overnight. Over the past decades we have done something, laid some ground work. It is not a waste of time," said Dai, who retired in 2012 as China's top diplomat.
"I believe the boundary issue will be addressed sooner or later, when conditions are mature. This problem can be addressed. Boundary issue to some extent is an impediment to the bilateral ties. If we deal with it properly, we can enhance the mutual trust and create favourable environment for bilateral relations," he said.
Until an agreement is reached, the two countries have to make sure the tranquillity and peace along the border areas, Dai said.