India and China have postponed high-level talks on the border issue after New Delhi expressed its inability to persuade the Dalai Lama to put off his engagements that were to take place here around the same time.
“We wanted to avoid a collision of events. Both sides are working on new dates and the talks are going to happen within this year,” said diplomatic sources, while confirming that the talks were postponed to avoid “embarrassment.”
The Chinese, said government sources, wanted to avoid a repeat of the incident in March 2008 when a group of Tibetans entered the compound of their embassy here around the time the Dalai Lama was visiting the national capital. The Chinese embassy in Vienna was the only other mission that was breached in near-simultaneous attempts to enter in many national capitals.
A large number of Tibetans are among those expected to congregate here for the World Buddhist Conference next week. The Dalai Lama is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the closing ceremony on December 30, said Tibetan sources. He will be staying in Delhi all week and will deliver the Penguin Lecture on December 2.
The coming border talks between the two Special Representatives, Shivshankar Menon and Dai Bingguo, are expected to discuss a framework for resolution of the dispute. This is described by Indian officials as part two of resolving the dispute. The first stage was completed six years ago with an agreement on the Guiding Principles and Political Parameters for resolving the border issue. The final stage would be applying the framework on the ground.
This would be the last meeting between the two Special Representatives under the current leadership in Beijing.
The two sides were also expected to ink an agreement on a “Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs,” an additional confidence-building measure to ensure peace and tranquillity on the border. India and China will also resume the defence dialogue next month which had been put on the backburner after India suspended high-level defence exchanges.