India and China were set to hold the 14th round of border talks at the level of Special Representatives here today to resolve the vexed boundary issue. The talks will be held between the Special Representatives, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart Dai Bingguo later this afternoon to resolve the differences on demarcation of some of the areas of the 4,000 km-long boundary between the two countries.
Talks on the boundary issue would focus on breaking the deadlock over Aksai Chin in the Ladakh sector and Arunachal Pradesh which China refers to as southern Tibet. Menon arrived here yesterday take part in the talks. The meeting between the top diplomats of the two countries is also significant as it will be final top officials level meeting before the crucial visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India next month.
India is hopeful that China will address its key concerns including that of issuance of stapled visa for residents of Jammu and Kashmir on the ground that the territory was disputed. The last round of border talks was held in New Delhi in 2009 between the then NSA, M K Narayanan and Dai which ended without much progress. Though India-China began discussions to resolve the border difference since 1980, the process got an impetus after the two countries agreed to hold talks by designated Special Representatives.
The two countries also signed agreements in 1993 and 1996 to maintain peace and stability in the border areas besides inking a political guiding principle on demarcation of the boundary in 2005. Menon who shares good rapport with top Chinese leaders and officials from the days of being the Ambassador here was expected to bring about fresh perspectives to resolve the boundary question which continues to prolong despite 13 rounds so far.
This is his second visit here this year. He visited in July as Prime Minister's Special Envoy and held talks with both Wen and Yang Jiechi. Menon's meeting also closely comes on the recent meeting between External Affairs Minister S M Krishna with his Chinese counterpart Yang on the sidelines of the Russia, India, China, (RIC) meeting at Wuhan in China this month followed by strategic dialogue conducted by Foreign Secretary, Nirupama Rao and Chinese vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun. During all the three meetings, India highlighted its concerns specially relating to Kashmir issue and objected to China's decision to issue stapled visas to Kashmiris.
The issue culminated into India calling off defence exchanges with China after Beijing denied visa to top Indian General B S Jaswal because he headed troops in the Kashmir region.