Fresh talks begin on border issue

Updated: 2015-03-24 08:00

By Zhao Shengnan(China Daily)

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China and India pledged to properly manage and control disputes before resolving the boundary issue as a fresh round of border talks started on Monday, the first such meeting since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May.

The pledge was made during the 18th round of Special Representative talks on the boundary issues in New Delhi, attended by State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

Both sides pledged to properly manage and control disputes before resolving the boundary issue so as to safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas, according to a statement in the Foreign Ministry website.

They would continue to push forward the negotiations on the right track for the relationship and the two people's long-term interests, said the statement.

The talks came after leadership from both sides repeatedly voiced their willingness to tackle the decadeslong dispute last year, amid growing economic ties between the neighbors.

China and India share a 2,000-km border that has never been formally delineated. The countries began discussing border issues in the 1980s.

But troops from both countries have been involved in standoffs, most recently in September.

"It will be an exercise in clarifying and understanding each other's positions," The Hindu quoted sources as saying on Monday.

Yang, who arrived in India on Sunday night, is to meet Modi on Tuesday, according to Indo Asian News Service, adding Yang's visit comes ahead of Modi's visit to China, which is planned for May.

Wang Xu, a researcher of South Asian studies at Peking University, said Beijing and New Delhi share a willingness to resolve the border issues or at least make sure they are contained, as the issue has hindered them from further fostering ties.

Neighborhood diplomacy is high on Beijing's agenda and Modi also needs a peaceful environment to realize his goal of improving growth, but resolving it is a long-running process, said Wang.

During a meeting with Modi in July, President Xi Jinping called for negotiated solutions to the border issues at an early date.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj echoed Xi's remarks and said the Modi government "is committed to exploring an early settlement" during her visit to Beijing in February.

Also in February, Modi visited a disputed area in the eastern part of the China-India border to attend activities marking the anniversary of the so-called "Arunachal Pradesh", which the Chinese government has never recognized.

Beijing expressed "strong dissatisfaction and staunch opposition" to the Indian side's insistence on arranging the visit by its leader to the disputed area on the China-India border.