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China rejects rivalry, hold talks with India on border mechanism

Monday January 16, 2012 08:10:32 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Indian and Chinese officials Monday held talks to flesh out a border mechanism and to resolve their decades-old boundary dispute, with Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo rejecting rivalry and predicting "a golden period" for India-China relations in days ahead.

Dai and India's National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, special representatives for boundary talks, began the two-day negotiations that are aimed at firming up a framework for delineating the border on the map.

This is the 15th round of boundary talks between special representatives of the two countries that was set up in 2003 to resolve the festering dispute.

Menon and Dai are also expected to work out the details of an accord on the border mechanism that is likely to be signed Tuesday.

The talks scheduled for November last year were postponed after India refused to yield to Chinese objections to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama's participation in a global Buddhist conclave in New Delhi.

Recently, Menon described the boundary question as a "difficult issue" and clarified that the two sides were "in the second stage of the three-stage process of agreeing to principles, a framework and finally a boundary line." The second and the third stages are proving to be most difficult as it may involve a swap of territories.

The border mechanism will facilitate real-time contact between the foreign office of the two countries in case of intrusions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). It is aimed at preventing flare-ups or misunderstandings arising out of incursions in other's territory that in turns may stem from misperceptions of the undemaracted LAC.

The decision to set up the border mechanism was taken at a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabai at Sanya in April 2011.

Ahead of the talks, Dai, who is said to be close to Chinese President Hu Jintao, struck an upbeat note on the trajectory of the burgeoning India-China relations and rejected rivalry with New Delhi amid recent differences over a host of issues.

"While working hard to develop itself, China is fully committed to developing long-term friendship and cooperation with India. It is our genuine hope that India will enjoy prosperity and its people, happiness," Dai wrote in an article in The Hindu that was published Monday morning.

"There does not exist such a thing as China's attempt to 'attack India' or 'suppress India's development'. China will remain committed to the path of peaceful development," Dai wrote.

Underlining the need for closer cooperation between India and China, Dai said: "We speak with one voice and enjoy increasingly closer coordination and collaboration in multilateral mechanisms and in tackling global challenges."

The influential Chinese politician and diplomat also rejected rivalry with India.

"We need to view each other's development in a positive light and regard each other as major partners and friends, not rivals. We always need to be each other's good neighbour, good friend and good partner," he said.

"What we face is a golden period to grow China-India relations. The world has enough space for China and India to achieve common development, as there are so many areas for us to work together," he said.

Dai's comments came against the backdrop of recent discordant notes in bilateral ties.

China recently denied visa to an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer who was to go as a member of the Indian military delegation to China, on grounds that he was from Arunachal Pradesh, the Indian northeastern state to which China lays claim. This led to India scaling down its delegation from the original 30 members to 15.

However, the fact that India and China have gone ahead with boundary talks show the desire of the two rising Asian powers to keep their sensitive ties on course.




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