India and China held a “very constructive” two-day meeting, which discussed additional confidence-building measures such as early implementation of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) as well as the core issue of a framework agreement for sorting out the border issue.

Special Representatives of both countries — National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon and Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi — also reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations.

On the regional front, they discussed the East Asia Summit process and touched on the situation in West Asia and the Middle East, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told newspersons here on Tuesday.

The BDCA was signed late last year and attempts were made to enhance coordination and iron out possibilities of misunderstanding between the armies along the disputed Line of Actual Control.

Asked why the MEA feels this round seemed to be very constructive, the spokesperson declined to elaborate on the grounds that “ultimately diplomacy has to be conducted beyond public glare” because these are issues which involve a certain amount of give and take.

“Nothing is agreed till everything is agreed. Please don’t gauge on a minute-by-minute basis and don’t expect us to give those sort of commentaries,” replied Mr. Akbaruddin when pressed for more details.

However, the MEA spokesperson did give a hint of the importance of the 17th Round of SR talks by pointing out that the meeting took place on the tailwind of two structured bilaterals between Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Li Keqiang held late last year.

For the first time, this meeting was preceded by senior officials discussing operational pinpricks on the border under the aegis of the Working Mechanism for Consultations and Coordination on India-China border affairs. “There is now a symbiotic process that has been set in place whereby issues relating to border are fed into the SR process,” pointed out the MEA spokesperson.

The highlight of the two-day SR interaction was an exchange of views on what framework was acceptable for moving over to the third and final phase of settling the border question. Begun 2003, the SRs settled the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles two years later.

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