With the aim of avoiding a “misunderstanding or miscalculation” on the India-China boundary dispute, National Security Advisor Shiv Shanker Menon will meet State Councillor Dai Bingguo on Monday to deliberate on better border management and, through that, build a multi-faceted bilateral relationship.
Dai, China’s principal foreign policy trouble-shooter with direct access to President Hu Jintao, is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday.
The diplomatic choreography for the crucial talks was done last week when Menon spelt out Indian foreign policy objectives at the Chinese embassy in Delhi on January 9 and Dai did likewise at the Indian mission in Beijing two days later.
Menon said both countries were on stage II of the boundary settlement issue. The three steps were: agreeing principles, a framework and finally drawing the boundary.
Dai on his part pushed for the bilateral economic agenda to boost ties between the two sides while recognising the priority of boundary resolution.
Government sources said the two special representatives will try to build on the 2005 border protocol signed during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to India so that potential of border flare-up is limited.
The fact is that Chinese assertion on the Line of Actual Control in the past three years was visible as Beijing was building up border road infrastructure for improved logistics. Now with India following suit, the two sides are working overtime to keep up dialogue and communication to avoid any mishap.
Even though Monday’s meeting would be part of the confidence building process,
New Delhi feels the future Chinese leadership, including heir-apparent Xi Jinping, wants to settle the boundary dispute with India and make it its legacy. India, on its part, is prepared to wait for the opportune moment.