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China, India conclude border talks

Both the sides fail to reach any specific agreements on their disputed boundary issue but decide to pursue their goal for a 'fair and reasonable' solution which is mutually acceptable.

world Updated: Sep 19, 2008 19:12 IST

India and China on Friday failed to reach any specific agreements on their disputed boundary issue in the latest round of negotiations but decided to pursue their goal for a "fair and reasonable" solution acceptable to both sides.

"Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Indian National Security Adviser MK Narayanan headed their delegations for the talks, which were pragmatic, candid and friendly," a bland statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in Beijing.

After a year-long hiatus, the two sides concluded two days of in-camera talks on Friday without reaching any specific agreements. The next round of will be held in India.

The 12th round of boundary talks were held amid some tension in bilateral ties in the wake of attempts by China to block a consensus on the India-specific waiver at the NSG meet in Vienna earlier this month.

Beijing's stand at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) came as a rude shock to New Delhi, which conveyed its unhappiness to Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi during his visit to New Delhi last week. China maintains it played a positive role at the crucial NSG meet.

The brief statement said Dai and Narayanan exchanged in-depth views on a framework to solve the boundary issue.

"They agreed that both countries would carry out the guidelines of their leaders, maintain negotiations and seek a fair and reasonable solution acceptable to both sides," the official Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

The brief statement did not indicate whether any progress had been made during the latest round of negotiations.

It is not clear if the two sides discussed the status of Tawang, nestled among the mountains in Arunachal Pradesh which has long been a serious bone of contention.

Narayanan had earlier said that the lingering dispute over the Buddhist enclave of Tawang was preventing efforts by the two countries to "cross the rubicon."

"Till that (the issue of Tawang) is settled whatever else we may do, it is difficult to say we have crossed the rubicon," Narayanan had said in an interview to Straits Times of Singapore last month.

He said "when they (the Chinese) talk in terms of movement forward, they keep arguing Tawang has always been a part of Tibet, which is a matter of debate."

The next round of discussions will take place in India, the statement added.

During a meeting with Narayanan here yesterday, China had indicated that the two countries should maintain peace along their disputed border till a solution is found to the vexed issue.

"Both should maintain peace and tranquility in the border area before the boundary issue is resolved," Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping told Narayanan.

Narayanan said India also hoped to realise the consensus by the leaders of the two countries to settle the vexed boundary issue at an early date.

Xi hoped the framework for the resolution of the boundary issue will be "fair and reasonable" and worked out through equal consultation and friendly dialogue and accepted by both the countries.

Unable to find a negotiated settlement through the diplomatic channels, India and China appointed Special Representatives in June 2003 to address the border issue from a political perspective of the overall bilateral relations.

The latest round of talks comes after the two sides held negotiations from September 24-26 last year in Beijing.

India says China is illegally occupying 43,180 sq kms of Jammu and Kashmir including 5,180 sq km illegally ceded to Beijing by Islamabad under the Sino-Pakistan boundary agreement in 1963. On the other hand, China accuses India of possessing some 90,000 sq km of Chinese territory, mostly in Arunachal Pradesh.