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India, China conclude border talks without agreement
PTI[Friday, September 19, 2008 22:25]
BEIJING, September 19 - Yet another round - the 12th - of Sino-Indian talks to resolve the complicated boundary dispute concluded here today with China stating that no specific agreements had been reached.

Two days of discussions between India's National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and China's State Councilor Dai Bingguo were "pragmatic, candid and friendly," according to a cryptic statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The talks concluded without "reaching any specific agreements," the official news agency Xinhua said.

After a year-long hiatus, the boundary talks were held amid some tension in bilateral ties in the wake of attempts by China to block a consensus on the India-specific waiver at the NSG meet in Vienna earlier this month.

Beijing's stand at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) upset New Delhi, which conveyed its unhappiness to Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi during his visit to New Delhi last week. China maintains it played a positive role at the crucial NSG meet.

The brief statement said Dai and Narayanan, both designated as Special Representatives by the two governments, exchanged in-depth views on a framework to solve the boundary issue.

"They agreed that both countries would carry out the guidelines of their leaders, maintain negotiations and seek a fair and reasonable solution acceptable to both sides," the official Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

The next round of talks between the two sides will be held in India.

It is not clear if the two sides discussed the status of Tawang, nestled among the mountains in Arunachal Pradesh which has long been a serious bone of contention.

Narayanan had earlier said that the lingering dispute over the Buddhist enclave of Tawang was preventing efforts by the two countries to "cross the rubicon."

"Till that (the issue of Tawang) is settled whatever else we may do, it is difficult to say we have crossed the rubicon," Narayanan had said in an interview to Straits Times of Singapore last month.

He said "when they (the Chinese) talk in terms of movement forward, they keep arguing Tawang has always been a part of Tibet, which is a matter of debate."

During a meeting with Narayanan here yesterday, China had indicated that the two countries should maintain peace along their disputed border till a solution is found to the vexed issue.

"Both should maintain peace and tranquility in the border area before the boundary issue is resolved," Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping told Narayanan.

Narayanan said India also hoped to realise the consensus by the leaders of the two countries to settle the vexed boundary issue at an early date.

Xi hoped the framework for the resolution of the boundary issue will be "fair and reasonable" and worked out through equal consultation and friendly dialogue and accepted by both the countries.

Unable to find a negotiated settlement through the diplomatic channels, India and China appointed Special Representatives in June 2003 to address the border issue from a political perspective of the overall bilateral relations.

India says China is illegally occupying 43,180 sq kms of Jammu and Kashmir including 5,180 sq km illegally ceded to Beijing by Islamabad under the Sino-Pakistan boundary agreement in 1963. On the other hand, China accuses India of possessing some 90,000 sq km of Chinese territory, mostly in Arunachal Pradesh.
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