'Border issue will not hamper Sino-Indian ties'
Both countries have already signed an agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles aimed at resolving the boundary issue.india Updated: Jul 19, 2006 20:51 IST
Days after Nathula Pass was opened for border trade, China said on Wednesday the decades old boundary issue with India will not stand in way of the improvement of overall relationship between the two countries.
Beijing said it expected bilateral trade to exceed $20 billion this year and noted that opening of borders for commerce was a step in the right direction.
"The border issue will not stand in the way of the overall development of relationship between the two countries," Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Yuxi told reporters.
He said the Special Representatives of the two countries, who are holding talks on resolving the vexed border issue, are making progress and trying to work out a framework for settling the dispute.
The Special Representatives -- National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo -- have held three rounds of parleys so far and are expected to hold the next round soon.
The two countries have already signed an agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles aimed at resolving the boundary issue.
"The agreement already provides for reaching the settlements regarding the demarcation (of the border)," he said, adding "We will keep our boundaries peaceful."
He said China is contemplating opening a new Consulate General office in Kolkata.
Yuxi said he expected the bilateral trade between the two most populous countries to exceed $20 billion this financial year. At present, the bilateral trade is pegged at $18 billion.
"That is why we have already started opening our markets and developing trade and business. Border area is highly important for the development of our relation," he added.
Nathula Pass is the third border trading point between India and China. The two existing ones are Lipulekh pass in Uttaranchal and Shipki La in Himachal Pradesh.
Trading through all the three points is confined to the border regions.
Through Nathu La, only Sikkim-based businessmen would be allowed to trade in 29 items listed for export and 15 for import.
The items that can be exported include agricultural implements, agro-chemicals, processed food, clothes, spices, tobacco and vegetables.
Commodities permitted for import include goatskin, sheepskin, wool, raw silk, china clay, borax, salt and some domestic animals.
The number could be increased or decreased based on mutual agreement.