India and China on Wednesday began in Beijing a series of dialogues ranging from the disputed border and trade-related issues as a build-up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s proposed visit to China in late October.
Key officials from India who are part of the working groups on the Strategic Economic Dialogue and the Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs are in China to consult with their Chinese counterparts to take the ongoing dialogues forward.
Four separate dialogues will be held in Beijing over the next five days that will include the Working Group Meeting of the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED), Financial Dialogue, Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs and Foreign Office Consultations.
The consultation over the disputed border meeting, to be held here from September 29 to 30, assumes significance as both sides have held hectic parlays during the past few months to hammer out a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) to prevent -- or resolve -- tensions arising out of recurring Chinese incursions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The SED meeting is taking place in the backdrop of dwindling bilateral trade between the two countries which dropped to around $66 billion last year from a high of $74 billion in 2011.
The last meeting of the SED was held in New Delhi in 2012 between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and his Chinese counterpart Zhang Ping, Chairman National Development and Reform Commission, during which the two sides signed several MOUs.
From India, among the senior officials taking part in the consultations are, Asit Kumar Tripathi, joint secretary, commerce ministry, BK Chaturvdei, member, planning commission, Arvind Mangatram, secretary economic affairs and Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary (East Asia) from the external affairs ministry.