New Delhi: India and China held their 17th round of border talks here on Tuesday, stressing on peace and tranquility on their 4,000-km disputed boundary, and are set for their annual defence dialogue on February 24.
A Chinese soldier (l) and an Indian soldier (r) stand guard at the Chinese side of the ancient Nathu La border crossing between India and China. Pic: AFP
Special representatives - National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Chinese State Councillor and top diplomat Yang Jiechi - met here over Monday and Tuesday for talks on the boundary question.
The talks between both sides have crossed the first stage - on agreeing to settlement of the boundary question. The second stage talks - on the "framework for resolution of the boundary question" - has been continuing for the past eight years.
After the “framework” question is resolved, both sides will proceed to the third stage of talks - on “demarcation on maps of any framework agreement and a delineation on the ground”.
“That is still sometime to go,” said external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin at a briefing here.
He said the second stage talks were on for the past eight years. “They are extremely complex, both are seriously working towards it (a framework)”.
On Monday, officials of both sides held the fifth meeting of a consultation and coordination mechanism on India-China border affairs and reviewed recent developments, especially in the Western Sector.
The mechanism - aimed at resolving day-to-day patrolling issues - was set up two years ago for improving communication and addressing on-the-ground issues on the border.
According to Akbaruddin, both the special representatives “exchanged views on what framework should be accepted”.
“There has been acceptance by both sides that continued maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas of India and China is the corner stone of expanding bilateral relationship,” he said.
Both sides elaborated on the additional confidence building measures, on the early implementation of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, inked last year during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Beijing. Both also welcomed the decision to hold the annual defence dialogue, which is being held Feb 24, he announced.
The meeting of the special representatives was also the first meeting of senior officials after the visits by their two prime ministers to each other's country.
Both Menon and Yang discussed counter-terrorism, disarmament and maritime affairs, trade, finance and climate change, as well as regional and international issues like cooperation in the East Asia Summit, and Afghanistan.
The talks were candid, friendly and held in a constructive atmosphere, said the spokesperson.