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Envoys' talks seen to boost ties with India

By APARAJIT CHAKRABORTY in New Delhi | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-06 09:42

Indian and Chinese national flags flutter side by side at the Raisina hills in New Delhi, India, in this file photo. [Photo/Xinhua]

Experts hail positive progress on border situation achieved by Beijing, New Delhi

In a significant development toward resolving border issues and bringing bilateral relations back on track, diplomats of China and India held the 28th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on China-India Border Affairs on Nov 30.

The two sides fully affirmed the positive progress made in negotiations on the China-India border situation, and had comprehensive, indepth and constructive discussions on the current border-related issues, according to a statement issued on Friday by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The meeting, which was held virtually, was co-chaired by Hong Liang, director-general of the Department of Boundary and Oceanic Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and Gourangalal Das, joint secretary of the East Asia Division at India's Ministry of External Affairs. Representatives of national defense and immigration affairs of the two countries attended the meeting as well.

China and India have shown the world great maturity by trying to settle disputes through diplomatic means, experts said, adding that the effort from both sides to resolve all outstanding issues should bear fruit soon.

The two sides agreed to earnestly implement the guiding principles of the important common understandings reached by the leaders of the two countries, maintain the momentum of diplomatic and military negotiations, hold the 21st Round of Corps Commanders Level Meeting at an early date, promote the settlement of issues related to the border areas, and turn the page in the situation of the border areas at an early date, according to the statement.

New Delhi said in its readout that the two sides further agreed on the "need to maintain peace and tranquillity along the border areas, ensure a stable situation on the ground and avoid any untoward incident".

India and China agreed to continue the dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and hold the next round of the senior military commanders' meeting "at the earliest to achieve the above objective", it said.

After a standoff emerged in May 2020, the working mechanism first met virtually in June of the same year.

The latest meeting is a positive development in the context of China-India relations, and the two sides have shown great maturity in aiming to settle disputes through diplomatic means, said Haans Freddy, a professor in the Department of Political Science at Madras Christian College in Chennai, India.

The diplomatic effort from both sides should be a model for other countries that talks and diplomatic means are the best way to settle disputes, he said.

"China and India are eternal neighbors who need to accurately understand each other's strategic intentions, and support and contribute to each other's success instead of undermining and doubting each other," Ma Jia, charge d'affaires a.i. at the Chinese embassy in India, said in an event in New Delhi on Sept 25 to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

"The rise of China is a reality but there is an equal reality — that is the rise of India. The rise may be different… quantitatively or qualitatively they may not be identical," India's External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said during a conversation hosted by the High Commission of India in London on Nov 16.

By and large, there is an urgency from both sides to resolve the outstanding issues at the earliest. Both sides are aware of the criticality of resolving the pending issue which is evident from their statements, said R.S. Vasan, a retired Indian navy commodore who is now the director of the Chennai Centre for China Studies, a think tank.

There has to be a greater effort by the top political leaders from both sides, for political direction to resolve all outstanding issues by the next meeting, Vasan said.

The writer is a freelance journalist for China Daily.

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