2012 Yearender: China-India ties witness progress

Manmohan Singh

Sino-India ties witnessed a positive momentum in 2012, the year that also saw the once-in-a-decade leadership change in China's ruling CPC, with the two Asian giants reaching a "common understanding" on the progress made in the 15 rounds of their border talks so far.

The "common understanding" was reached during parleys between National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and China's State Councillor Dai Bingguo here in early December.

It is to be approved by the leadership of both countries and it relates to the talks between the two sides on the framework for a boundary settlement, which is the key to final phase of the boundary demarcation.

Both Menon and Dai are designated Special Representatives for the boundary talks. They held an informal round of discussions on December 3 and 4 on the bilateral relations ahead of the transfer of power in China.

So far, the two countries have held 15 rounds of talks to resolve the dispute.

Also, China, for the first time in 10 years, will have a new Special Representative for the boundary talks and India-China bilateral engagement in 2013, as Dai, China's point man for India, is set to retire along with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, who provided a positive momentum for bilateral ties during their decade-long stint in power.

The "common understanding" on the progress made on the border talks, which is yet to be revealed, is expected to provide a degree of clarity for the new Chinese Special Representative to be named after March.

Framework for the settlement is the second stage of the negotiation process agreed by the two countries. It is aimed at working out a framework for boundary settlement.

The first stage of working guiding principles resulted in agreement in 2005, which had set out political parameters and guiding principles for boundary settlement.

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