Pallavi Aiyar

Support may have been sought for India-U.S deal

Special Representatives devising framework for settling the border issueThe actual demarcation of the border can only begin after the framework is realisedNext round of talks in India

Beijing: The eighth round of talks on the border dispute between India and China ended here on Tuesday. As with the preceding rounds of dialogue, these were held behind closed doors and details of what was discussed were not made public. A brief press release issued at the conclusion of the two-day negotiations stated that the talks had been held in a "friendly, cooperative and constructive atmosphere."

A similar statement had also been made following the last round of dialogue in India earlier this year in March.

Special Representatives M.K. Narayanan, who is also the National Security Adviser, and Dai Bingguo, the Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister, are in the process of devising a framework for a settlement of the border issue on the basis of the "political parameters and guiding principles" finalised during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India last year. The actual demarcation of the border can only begin after the framework is realised, official sources say.

Although the boundary talks were the main focus of Mr. Narayanan's visit to Beijing, he also met with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao as well as Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. It is likely that Mr. Narayanan sought China's support, at the Nuclear Suppliers Group, for the India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal.

Issues such as support for Shashi Tharoor, Indian nominee for the post of U.N. Secretary-General, and the proposed visit to India by Chinese President Hu Jintao later this year were also probably broached.

The next round of dialogue will be held in India at a mutually convenient time, according to the press release.