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India, China to meet in January

Dialogue was put off in November over Dalai Lama addressing a Buddhist conference in the capital. Shishir Gupta reports.

delhi Updated: Dec 20, 2011 01:37 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times

Putting behind the acrimony over presence of the Dalai Lama in a Buddhist conference here in November, India and China have decided to hold crucial boundary talks at the Special Representative (SR) level next month.

The dialogue, which was slated for November 28-29, was cancelled at the insistence of the Chinese side over 14th Dalai Lama addressing a religious Buddhist conference on November 30.

Top government sources said dates around mid-January 2012 are being finalised for SR dialogue at the level of National Security Advisor (NSA) Shiv Shanker Menon after Beijing this week indicated that they were open to boundary talks next month.

The Indian side is represented by China expert Menon and Chinese side by State Councillor Dai Bingguo, who has been involved in the boundary talks since Brajesh Mishra

was the NSA during the NDA regime. The last round of talks was held in November 2010.

While the SR dialogue since the NDA regime has been stuck on drawing international boundary, Menon under the guidance of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is looking for a big picture political approach to the vexed issue with parity on ground.

Even though this will be the last round of talks for Dai as Beijing heads for a leadership change, the next round is expected to move forward as the new regime in China has indicated that the dispute be sorted out so that bilateral ties grow to their full economic potential.

The SR dialogue will find resonance in External affairs minister S M Krishna’s visit to China in February and get firm impetus during President Hu Jintao’s visit to India for the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in Delhi on March 29, 2012.

First Published: Dec 19, 2011 23:14 IST