India, China discuss boundary issue

Ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao`s New Delhi visit, India and China explored ways to resolve the vexed boundary issue.

Beijing: Ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao`s New Delhi visit, India and China on Monday explored ways to resolve the vexed boundary issue as the Special Representatives of the two countries held the 14th round of border talks here.

The two designated officials -- National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo -- held a lengthy meeting to find ways to resolve differences over demarcation of the 4000-km-long border, especially at Aksai Chin in the Ladakh sector and Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as part southern Tibet.

Menon, a specialist in Chinese affairs, is familiar with the top echelons of the leadership of this country as he had served as India`s ambassador here and was also Foreign Secretary in the past.

Menon and Dai, who are also friends, exchanged pleasantries, reminiscing their old association before settling down for the talks.

Welcoming the National Security Adviser, Dai, in his opening remarks, said "I know you are directly involved in establishing the Special Representatives (SR) mechanism" which was set up in 2003, referring to Menon`s efforts as ambassador to Beijing at that time.

He also thanked the NSA for "recommending" his name as the Chinese Special Representative for the boundary talks.

"But you would have never thought you will come as India`s SR for talks here," Dai said.
Applauding Menon`s contribution for the betterment of Sino-India ties, Dai said "you are not only a senior Indian diplomat but also a famous expert on China. You are also a very good friend of China. I am convinced that as an SR and NSA you will make your unique contribution to further the relations and settlement of border issues between the two countries."

Responding to Dai`s remarks, Menon said that "in India we believe in `karma`."

Later, the two met again over a banquet hosted by Dai in honour of Menon. The two diplomats are scheduled to hold the final round of the two-day talks tomorrow.

The 13th round of boundary talks was held in New Delhi in 2009 between the then NSA M K Narayanan and Dai, which ended without much progress.

India and China have been holding talks since 1980 to work out a formula to resolve the differences. The process got an impetus after the two countries agreed to establish the Special Representatives` mechanism.
In the process, the two countries also signed agreements in 1993 and 1996 to maintain peace and stability along the border areas, besides inking a political guiding principle on demarcation of the boundary in 2005.