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HindustanTimes Fri,31 Oct 2014

Indo-China talks to boost military ties, ease tension

Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times  Beijing, April 30, 2014
First Published: 00:15 IST(30/4/2014) | Last Updated: 00:22 IST(30/4/2014)

India and China on Tuesday continued the latest round of talks here to boost military cooperation along the disputed border with Beijing saying it was keen to “enhance” coordination on border-related affairs.

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It wasn’t clear at the end of the second day of the three-day meeting between senior officials about what exactly the enhancement – or the new code of conduct for military personnel apparently proposed by China -- would entail.

It was only late last year during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China that the countries signed the high-profile Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), also suggested by Beijing.

The BDCA already outlines the steps that both countries need take to enhance cooperation along the disputed border area and prevent situations between border patrols from escalating.

The ongoing meeting is the 6th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Consultation on China-India Border Affairs.

It is different from the higher level of interaction on the border issue between Special Representatives designated by the two countries.

Set up in 2012, the Working Mechanism will “undertake other tasks that are mutually agreed upon by the two sides, but will not discuss resolution of the Boundary Question or affect the Special Representatives Mechanism.”  It studies “ways and means to conduct and strengthen exchanges and cooperation between military personnel and establishments of the two sides in the border areas.”

“We are ready to make joint efforts with the Indian side to explore ways and approaches to safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas. We will enhance our coordination, consultation and cooperation on border related affairs,” foreign minister spokesperson, Qin Gang said the daily briefing on Tuesday.

He added: “Both China and India attach great importance to maintain peace and tranquility in border areas between the two countries. Over recent years, in accordance with development of bilateral relations as well as actual coordination in border areas we have taken positive steps in safeguarding tranquility and peace in border areas.”

Qin added that both countries had reached a series of agreements including the BDCA.   “All these have played an important role in promoting mutual trust and stability in border areas,” he said.

It was exactly a year before that the last major border stand-off between the two countries took place with Chinese soldiers crossing the Line of Actual Control and pitching tents on the Indian side.

The Chinese team is being led by Ouyang Yujing, director general, Department of Boundary and Oceanic Affairs, while joint secretary from the Ministry of External Affairs, Gautam Bambawale is heading the Indian delegates.


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