Joint Declaration 2003
Visiting Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao signed the first-ever Sino-Indian Joint Declaration in Beijing on June 23, 2003. The declaration covered two crucial issues — border disputes and trade.
In an implicit recognition of Sikkim being a part of India, China agreed to have border trade through the Northeastern state while India, in a careful formulation, recognised the autonomous region of Tibet as part of Chinese territory.
Following are the highlights of the declaration:
Tibet autonomous region: India, in a careful formulation, recognised the autonomous region of Tibet as part of Chinese territory. Indian Govt maintained that it did not effect any change in the country's traditional stand on Tibet though many in India thought otherwise. India reiterated that it won't allow Tibetans to engage in anti-China activities in India.
Many experts said India's specific 'recognition' indicated that certain other parts of Tibet beyond the autonomous region such as Aksai Chin, which India lays claim to, are to be treated differently.
Border disputes: The two countries agreed to appoint a special representative to explore from the political perspective of the overall bilateral relationship a framework on the boundary settlement. The two sides reaffirmed their readiness to seek a fair, reasonable and a mutually acceptable solution through consultations on equal footing. Brijesh Mishra was later named as India's representative.
The two sides reiterated their commitment to continue implementation of the agreement signed for the purpose, including the clarification of the Line of Actual Control.
Cooperation against terror: The two countries condemned terrorism in any form and declared that the struggle between the international community and global terrorism is a "comprehensive and sustained one", with the ultimate objective of eradication of the menace "in all regions". They agreed to promote cooperation on counter-terrorism through their bilateral dialogue mechanism.
MoU ON EXPANDING BORDER TRADE
In an implicit recognition of Sikkim being a part of India, China agreed to have border trade through the Northeastern state. The MoU was signed by External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha and Chinese Commerce Minister Hu Fuyan.
The Indian side agreed to designate Changgu of Sikkim state as a venue for the border trade market. The Chinese side agreed to designate Renqinggang of the Tibetan autonomous region as the venue for the border trade. The two countries agreed to use Nathu La as a pass for entry and exit of persons, means of transport and commodities engaged in border trade.