Top Indian, Chinese officials to meet later this week for border talks

Updated on Nov 21, 2018 04:41 PM IST

Led by Indian national security advisor AK Doval and Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi, the officials will meet for the 21st round of bilateral border talks on November 23 and 24.

Flags of China and India at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi.(HT File Photo)
Flags of China and India at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi.(HT File Photo)
Hindustan Times, Beijing | BySutirtho Patranobis

India and China will continue discussions to resolve their long-pending border dispute when officials from the two countries meet in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu later this week.

Led by Indian national security advisor AK Doval and Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi, the officials will meet for the 21st round of bilateral border talks under the special representatives (SR) mechanism on November 23 and 24. It will be Wang’s first talks as China’s designated representative; he took over from Yang Jiechi earlier this year.

The mechanism was put in place in 2003 with the mandate of achieving a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution for the India-China boundary question at an early date.

Recently, the focus has been more on maintaining peace along the 3,488 km-long disputed border after the 73-day standoff between border troops at Doklam (Donglang in Chinese) near the Sikkim border last year.

The 20th round was held in India last year, the first one after the standoff was resolved. In fact, under the SR mechanism, the second mandate is “pending the final resolution of the boundary question, to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”

“As for the issue of the border, talks under the strategic guidance of the two leaders China India relations have maintained a sound momentum of growth. With the ever deepening cooperation of all areas the two sides have maintained close communication and coordination in all border-related affairs,” foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at the regular ministry briefing on Wednesday.

“We have properly managed the differences through dialogue and consultation. The border areas on the whole maintained stability,” he said.

“The two sides attached great importance to it. The two special representatives will have in-depth exchange of view on border-related issues,” Geng said.

Referring to the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in April this year, Geng said: “They (the officials) will follow the guidance of the consensus reached by the two leaders bearing in mind the general picture of the bilateral ties and benefits of the two peoples on the basis of the outcomes that have been achieved to actively promote the negotiations”.

“The two will also exchange views on the major issue of bilateral ties and the regional and international issue of mutual interest,” Geng added.

The SR dialogue follows in quick succession after officials from the two countries met in Chengdu earlier this month for the 12th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC).

“They (officials) discussed ways to effectively manage border areas in accordance with the strategic guidance provided by the leaders of the two countries at the Wuhan Summit,” a statement from the Indian embassy in Beijing said.

The officials also “…explored various confidence-building measures with a view to further enhance mutual trust and understanding”.

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