Nov 20, 2012

India - India, China vow to resolve border dispute

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Even as China gears up for a change in leadership, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will make a last-ditch effort to resolve the boundary dispute between the two nations, before a new regime sets in.

National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon is expected to travel to Beijing later this month to meet China's special representative Dai Bingguo in Beijing to take forward the boundary talks between the two nations, the 16th of such talks, of which the last were held in New Delhi in January.

This will be the last of the boundary talks by Bingguo as the new leadership in China is expected to appoint a new special representative for boundary talks with India. This will be the last substantial push that both Jiabao and Singh can give to the boundary issue.

The two leaders met for about 45 minutes and speaking on the boundary issue, Jiabao said that an active dialogue between special representatives continues, and though differences remain, the two sides have set in place a joint mechanism to ensure peace and tranquillity on the border.

Singh met the Chinese Premier in the Peace Palace on the sidelines of the Asean summit being held here. This was the 14th time the two leaders met and the bonhomie was pretty apparent.Jiabao paid a compliment to Singh and said that "it was a memorable experience to work with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh", according to Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai who briefed the Press yesterday.

Singh said their "dialogue architecture" had taken into its ambit new areas, with dialogues on foreign affairs on “central Asia and West Asia”  and engaging on a dialogue on maritime security.

Singh also emphasised on trade and said: "Trade has seen a rapid build-up, and also people-to-people contacts, and these important achievements have given a fillip to their bilateral ties and added to global peace and prosperity.''

China also assured India that it was aware of the need to balance trade between the two countries, which is currently heavily loaded in favour of Beijing, and "it will be done gradually".This was conveyed to  Singh by Jiabao during their bilateral meet.

The India-China bilateral trade hit a record US$73.9 billion last year.

Simran Sodhi

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