Mutual tensions at high, India-China reach understanding on border talks

Dai Bingguo

India and China have reached a "common understanding" on the progress made so far in their vexed border talks that will provide a framework for drawing a "fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable" boundary, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon said on Tuesday.

The understanding was reached during the current round of talks between Menon and his designated Chinese counterpart Dai Bingguo.

"Dai and I agreed on common understanding on discussions on the framework for a boundary settlement," Menon said.

Menon and Dai, the Special Representatives for the boundary talks, held three rounds of parleys yesterday spanning about six hours.

Elaborating, Menon said the border talks are currently in the second stage of a three-stage process which had been agreed in the beginning.

The first stage was to work out the guiding principles. It resulted in the 2005 agreement on the political parameters and guiding principles for boundary settlement.

The second stage is aimed at working out a framework for boundary settlement.

"Once we have a framework we will proceed to actual business of drawing boundary that is fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable," he said.

"We are in the middle of the second stage. What we try to do in the common understanding which we prepared was to say where we are today," he said.

"Overall when we looked at our relationship and when we looked at the boundary that we have actually made considerable progress and we handled the relationship well. The border is peaceful and we made progress towards settlement.

"There is work still to be done. Both sides recognise that," Menon said, adding they have not allowed the boundary issue to prevent all-round development of relations.

The two countries launched the mechanism of meetings between Special Representatives on border issues in 2003.

Dai, who would be retiring in March, has remained China's Special Representative in all the 15 rounds so far.

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