India, China to discuss border, other major issues

Beijing: India and China will discuss their vexed boundary dispute and try to sort out major issues at the 21st round of two-day border talks beginning on Friday in the Chinese city of Chengdu, Beijing said on Wednesday.

The two countries, which fought a war in 1962 and have had several skirmishes since then along their largely undefined 3,488-km border, were locked in a 73-day military stand-off at Doklam, a contested region between China and Bhutan close India’s arterial highway where the Chinese were building a road.

The face-off plunged the already testy India-China ties to a new low. The two Asian giants are in a recovery mode and have seemingly made progress in their relationship, especially after the informal summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in April this year.

India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will hold the talks with China’s top diplomat and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Beijing’s new Special Representative on the boundary dispute.

“… Issue of the border talks, under the strategic guidance of the two leaders, China-India relations have maintained sound growth with ever deepening exchanges and cooperation in all areas,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said here.

He was replying to a question about scepticism about the deliverable of the border talks mechanism.

“Two sides attach great importance to it. The two Special Representatives will have an in-depth exchange of views on border related issues.

“At the same time, will promptly manage differences and uphold the peace and tranquillity of the border areas. The two sides will also exchange views on the major issues in bilateral ties and the international and regional issues of mutual interest,” he added.

Geng said the two sides will talk to keep the border peaceful as agreed between Modi and Xi at Wuhan.

“Under the strategic guidance of the two leaders, China-India relations have maintained sound growth with ever deepening exchanges and cooperation in all areas.

“The two sides have maintained close communication and correlation in border related affairs. We have promptly managed differences through dialogue and consultation. The border areas have on the whole maintained stability,” the spokesperson added.

Doval and Wang will also discuss other key irritants in bilateral ties.

India is likely to raise its trade deficit with China even if Beijing has promised to give more access to Indian companies to its market.

Beijing’s opposition to India’s attempt to have the Pakistani terror outfit chief Masood Azhar declared international terrorist at the UN and its “no” to New Delhi’s entry into the Nuclear Supplier Group are other issues.

India opposes China’s Belt and Road project as one of the routes of its key component – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – is planned through the Kashmir claimed by Delhi and held by Islamabad.

Despite India’s protest, Pakistan and China launched a bus service along the CPEC route this month.