No progress in Sino-Indian talks

Even as the 13th round of Sino-Indian boundary talks ended on Saturday without any substantive headway, New Delhi and Beijing laid stress on strengthening the strategic cooperative partnership between the two neighbours.

In a message to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Beijing was willing to work with India “to increase mutual understanding and confidence, enhance cooperation in all fields, and seek new progress in building the Sino-Indian Strategic Cooperative Partnership.” Singh responded stating that India too was willing to work with China to expand and deepen bilateral relations.

Wen’s message was conveyed to Singh by the visiting Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo, who is also Beijing’s Special Representative for talks with New Delhi for resolving the Sino-Indian border disputes. He called on Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi here on Saturday.

“China and India are important neighbours and major developing countries. It is in the interests of both countries and the people of the two countries to maintain peaceful co-existence and seek common development, which is also exerting a deep and far impact on Asia and the whole world,” Dai quoted Wen stating in the message to Singh.

The prime minister said India and China shared a wide range of opinions and stands in international affairs and were keeping close coordination over global issues like the international financial crisis and climate change.

Dai and his Indian counterpart and National Security Advisor M K Narayanan led the delegations of both countries in the talks to resolve the dispute between the two neighbours.

Peace and tranquillity
An official statement from the Ministry of External Affairs  said both sides expressed satisfaction at the progress being made through the Special Representatives mechanism to resolve the dispute. Both sides also reiterated that pending the settlement of the boundary issue, peace and tranquillity should be maintained in the border areas, it added.

Sources, however, said that the two-day parleys — held after a gap of almost a year — had failed to make any significant progress, with both sides being firm on their respective positions. India and China share around 2,000 km of international border marked by the McMohan Line drawn by the British in 1914, which China  refuses to accept as the boundary.

New Delhi alleges that Beijing is illegally occupying approximately 38,000 sq kms of Indian territory in Jammu and Kashmir. China claims approximately 90,000 sq km of Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh and about 2,000 sq km in the middle sector of the boundary between the two nations.

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