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India-China talks: Hope floats on backwaters
George Iype in Kumarakom | March 13, 2006 14:29 IST
After a day of bilateral talks on the longstanding border dispute between the countries -- in the picturesque backwaters of Kerala -- Indian and Chinese officials are hopeful.
'I am sure the beauty of this place will refresh our wisdom and help us to evolve the right solution,' said Dai Bingguo, executive vice foreign minister and special representative of the Chinese premier, who is leading the Chinese team.
'We are moving forward. May be after two or three more round of talks, a framework could be finalised towards reaching an agreement on the border dispute,' said M K Narayanan -- national security adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh -- who is in charge of the Indian delegation.
China has laid claim to nearly 90,000 sq km of territory in the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. In the past, the two countries have held a number of talks to resolve the issue.
The latest round of talks began on Sunday, at the lavish Taj Garden Retreat.
"We have decided to evolve a framework to resolve the border dispute. Once the framework is ready, I think it will be an easy task for the countries to settle the issue from a political and strategic viewpoint," a senior ministry of external affairs official told rediff.com
He said once a proper framework is arrived at, the delineation of the border would be the next phase.
"The Kumarakom talks will perhaps result in a framework," the official added.
Official sources said the talks have centred on coming out with a package proposal for all the sectors and issues of the border problem.
Before the officials got into formal discussions on Sunday evening, they addressed a brief joint press conference.
'We've made a good start. We've made progress. We would find a solution soon,' Bingguo said.
Narayanan pointed out that the thrust of the talks is to break a system being followed in the border dispute so far and move ahead on the basis of certain political parameters and guiding principles -- instead of dealing with legal or such aspects related to the issue.
'The talks will not be based on specific areas in the border which is under dispute. It will be from a political perspective,' he said.
'We would like to reach an agreement as early as possible,' he added.
Narayanan and Bingguo agreed that the issue is complex and they are looking towards an agreement mutually acceptable and comfortable for both countries.
'It may take time. But it will strengthen the India-China relationship,' Narayanan said.
Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Yuxi and Indian Ambassador to China Nalin Suri are helping Narayanan and Bingguo in the talks.
The 10-member Indian delegation includes Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs Ashok Kantha and MEA Director Sourabh Kumar.
The Chinese delegation -- also with 10 members -- includes Director-General in the Department of Asian Affairs Hu Zhengyue and Lin Shanghn, counsellor, Asian Department, ministry of foreign affairs.