National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon arrived here on Sunday for talks with the Chinese leadership on the boundary question and strategic issues of common interest. His two-day visit will mark India's first major engagement with the newly-selected fifth generation of the Communist Party of China's (CPC) leadership.

Mr. Menon will hold talks with State Councillor Dai Bingguo, his counterpart on the long-running boundary negotiations, on Monday. Mr. Dai, who has served as the Special Representative (SR) on the talks since the current dialogue mechanism was initiated a decade ago, is set to retire in March. Both SRs would review the past 15 rounds of talks as part of an effort, officials said, to ensure continuity with Mr. Dai's successor, who has not yet been announced.

Official sources described Monday’s meeting as an “informal” talk. Mr. Menon will also meet one of the seven members of the newly-selected Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC), which took office on November 15 following the 18th Party Congress, at which Xi Jinping was selected the next General Secretary.

Mr. Menon is scheduled to meet second-ranked Li Keqiang, although the sources said as per the Chinese practice, the identity of the PBSC official could not be confirmed and that the meeting was subject to last-minute scheduling changes.

At the 15th round of talks held in New Delhi earlier this year, Mr. Menon and Mr. Dai continued negotiations on a framework agreement. In 2005, both sides signed an agreement on political parameters and guiding principles. Since then, the wide perception in both countries is that little progress has been made. “After 2005, there is nearly no significant progress on the boundary talks,” Hu Shisheng, a leading South Asia scholar at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations an influential Beijing think tank, told The Hindu.

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