China willing to settle boundary issue, boost ties

  • Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Dec 10, 2012 01:33 IST

With National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart Dai Bingguo recording the 18 points of bilateral agreement on the vexed border issue this week, Beijing has conveyed its readiness to India to move forward on settling the 3,488 kilometre of Line of Actual Control (LAC) and comprehensively engage New Delhi on all outstanding issues.

Top government sources said Menon during his meetings with Li Keqiang, ranking member of Poliburo Standing Committee and tipped to succeed Wen Jiabao as Premier of China in March 2013, and Wu Bangguo, chairman of National Peoples' Congress and member of the standing committee, was conveyed that new leadership under party general secretary and present vice president Xi Jinping wanted to positively engage India.

While the NSA was hosted by outgoing State Councillor Dai Bingguo in Beijing this week, he met Xi Jinping in November 2010.

Sources said while it is still not clear who is going to succeed Dai as Special Representative (SR) in the Indo-China Boundary dialogue in the new dispensation, top diplomat Wang Yi, presently heading Taiwan desk, or Wang Jia Rui, head of international liaison department, are the frontrunners for the job.

“Five out of seven members of apex standing committee in China have been to India and understand that the only way to move bilateral relations forward is to set aside the boundary dispute on a priority,” said a senior official.

With the two SRs summing up the boundary talks since 2003 in a document form, the Manmohan Singh government is going to take the Opposition parties into confidence soon before engaging the new Chinese leadership on finally resolving the boundary dispute.

The UPA approach is going to be similar to what Prime Minister Narasimha Rao did before signing the 1993 Peace and Tranquility Agreement with China with the then joint secretary Menon bringing all the Opposition leaders in loop beforehand.

Faced with a crisis with neighbours on South China Sea, Beijing has indicated that it wants to cement bilateral ties with both India and Russia in order to avoid any ganging up of forces against a rising China.

Sources said the new leadership has conveyed that it wants to dramatically improve relations with India in the next decade and understands New Delhi’s red lines on ties between Beijing and Islamabad.

“There is growing realisation in China that the political relations with India will not improve merely by increasing the bilateral trade to $100 billion. The new leadership wants to engage India as an autonomous stable power in the world,” said a senior official.


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