India, China vow to end border row
Agree to cooperate in civil N-energy
India and China on Monday sought to leave behind the recent border standoff and evolve an early consensus on a framework for resolving the vexed boundary row, apart from agreeing on cooperation in the civil nuclear energy sector.
Taking note of “lessons” learnt from the recent standoff at Depsang Bulge in Ladakh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang decided that special representatives of the two countries would soon restart talks to find a solution to the boundary dispute.
They agreed to look for additional measures to keep the Line of Actual Control calm in the meantime, although persisting differences stalled signing of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement.
“We agreed that our special representatives will meet soon to continue discussions, seeking an early agreement on a framework for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable boundary settlement,” Singh said while addressing mediapersons jointly with Li.
“Both sides believe that, with regard to the boundary question, one that is leftover by history, the two sides have over the time established the principles on this question,” said Li.
“In the meantime, we have worked together to maintain tranquility and peace on the border.” In a significant move, India and China on Monday agreed to “carry out bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energy in line with their respective international commitments.” China had tacitly opposed India’s landmark 2008 civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the US.
China had not only tried to stop the Nuclear Suppliers Group from granting a waiver to India, but also made fresh commitments to continue its support to Pakistan’s atomic energy programme.
Beijing also lobbied against New Delhi’s bid to enter the NSG as a member.
Briefing mediapersons on Singh’s meeting with Li New Delhi’s envoy to Beijing S Jaishankar noted that India and China had cooperated in the civil nuclear energy sector in the past as well.
He was apparently referring to China supplying India enriched fuel for the Tarapur atomic power station in Maharashtra in the early 90s.
Li arrived in New Delhi on Sunday for a four-day visit to India. This is his first visit to any country after taking over as the Chinese Premier last March. He will also visit Mumbai, before leaving for Pakistan on Wednesday.
With the latest Chinese incursion in Ladakh on April 15 and the consequent three-week standoff casting a shadow over his maiden visit, Li on Monday said his visit was aimed at “strengthening the strategic mutual trust between the two countries.”
“The peace of the world and the stability of the region cannot be guaranteed without strategic mutual trust between China and India. Likewise, the world’s development and prosperity cannot be realised without cooperation between China and India,” he said.
The two leaders tasked the special representatives with considering “further measures” to maintain peace and tranquility along the border.
The talks between the special representatives on the boundary issue came to a halt last year due to the leadership change in China.
National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, who is also New Delhi’s special representative for the boundary talks with Beijing, will visit the Chinese capital soon to meet his new counterpart, State Councilor Yang Jiechi.
India and China have been holding special representative level talks on the boundary dispute since 2003.
After the first five rounds of parleys, the special representatives reached an agreement on political parameters and guiding principles for resolving the dispute.