The meeting focussed on resolving operational issues on the border, especially when troops come face to face with each other in areas claimed by both countries.

India and China held two crucial meetings in New Delhi on Monday, both of them relating to the border issue.

A meeting between middle level officials was held in the morning on resolving operational issues on the border, especially when troops come face to face with each other in areas claimed by both countries.

The Fifth Meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs reviewed recent developments in the India-China border areas especially in the Western Sector (Ladakh region).

Implementation of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), additional confidence building measures and further steps for maintaining peace and tranquility were also discussed, said a Ministry of External Affairs news release. ``The talks, were held in a candid, constructive and forward looking atmosphere,’’ it added.

The day also saw the commencement of another India-China meeting -- the 17th Round of India – China Special Representatives (SR) Talks – which take place at a much higher level. Unlike the Working Mechanism which intends to sort out day to day patrolling issues, the SR-level talks aims to settle the entire boundary issue through consultations.

The two day SR talks began in the evening with the Indian delegation led by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and the Chinese delegation by State Councilor (and former Foreign Minister) Yang Jiechi.

In addition to deliberations on the India – China Boundary question, Mr. Menon and Mr. Yang will also discuss bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest, said the MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin. These issues have been a recent addition to SR talks which previously had focused entirely on the boundary question.

This would be this Government’s last contact with the Chinese leadership on the complete settlement of the border issue. The mechanism was set up by the National Democratic Alliance Government in 2003 and continued by the two editions of the United Progressive Alliance Government.

Chinese Ambassador Wei Wei recently said the boundary question was among the three sensitive issues as far as India-China relations are concerned. The other two are the issue of trans-border rivers and China-Pakistan relations.

``While divergences and differences are unavoidable, most important is how we handle them. There have been accidental standoffs, but we have maintained peace and tranquility in border areas and had no single firing accident for long. In future, we should continue, based on the principle of constructive cooperation, to work together to safeguard peace and tranquility in border areas,'' he suggested.

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