India, China to intensify boundary settlement

Ajit Doval and Wang Yi are the designated Special Representatives of the two countries for the boundary talks.

December 21, 2019 02:52 pm | Updated 09:41 pm IST - New Delhi

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval (right) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in New Delhi on December 21, 2019. Photo: Twitter/@MEAIndia

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval (right) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in New Delhi on December 21, 2019. Photo: Twitter/@MEAIndia

India and China will intensify the quest for the settlement of the boundary question. A press statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that during the meeting of the Special Representatives of both sides held here on Saturday, officials resolved to respect each other’s sensitivities for the sake of better ties.

“The Special Representatives resolved to intensify their efforts to achieve a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the India-China boundary question in accordance with the directives provided by PM Modi and President Xi Jinping,” the Ministry’s press release said, emphasising that both sides agreed that it is important to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas for the “overall bilateral relationship”.

A statement issued by the Chinese embassy on the talks declared China and India are planning 70 events to celebrate the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties next year and will “actively advance boundary negotiations in line with the Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question”.

The 22nd round of the Special Representative-level meeting was led by the Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and the Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi. The Ministry of External Affairs said, the officials underlined the importance of approaching the boundary question from the “strategic perspective” of India-China relations. 

Both the Indian and the Chinese leaders had last met at the Mamallapuram informal summit in October which was preceded by the April 2018 informal summit in China’s Wuhan. Saturday's border-related meeting was specially significant as China has been critical of India's August 5 decision to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the region into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. India had retorted by reiterating Delhi's claims over the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) by urging China to stop its activities in that region.

China backed up its criticism by reopening the “The India-Pakistan Question” at the UN Security Council for a meeting on August 16 which it tried to repeat unsuccessfully earlier this month. Indicating at these matters, the Ministry of External Affairs said that during Saturday's meeting both sides exchanged views on "important bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest". 

“There was a consensus that both sides should respect each other's sensitivities and concerns in order to build mutual trust, as this was important for the future development of the bilateral relations,” the press release from the Ministry of External Affairs stated. Following the meeting with Mr Doval, Wang Yi met Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. 

Both the delegates maintained that Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) will play a role in promoting communication between border personnel to ensure predictability of border management and “strategic communication”.

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