China remained noncommittal to India’s call for clearing doubts over alignment of the line that acts as a de facto border between the two countries, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to pursue settlement of the boundary dispute as a “strategic objective”.
Xi concluded his visit to New Delhi on Friday and returned to Beijing without making any commitment to Modi’s call for early resumption of the joint efforts to narrow down perceptional differences over alignment of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
A joint statement issued at the end of the Chinese president’s three-day visit to India, however, reiterated the commitment of India and China to seek a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable” solution to the boundary dispute in the “overall interests of the bilateral relations”.
The joint statement on Building a Closer Developmental Partnership between India and China recalled the agreement on the political parameters and guiding principles for the settlement of the boundary question signed in April 2005. Modi and Xi also agreed that an early settlement of the boundary dispute would “advance basic interests of the two countries” and should, therefore, be “pursued as a strategic objective.”
A face-off between the border guards of the two countries along the LAC at Chumar in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir brought to the fore the bilateral boundary dispute just ahead of the Chinese president’s visit to India.
Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag briefed the prime minister on the border situation on Friday whereas Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen P R Kumar had a detailed discussion with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, exploring ways to de-escalate the tension.
Modi expressed India’s “serious concerns over repeated incidents along the border” during his meetings with Xi both in Ahmedabad on Thursday and in New Delhi on Friday.
He told the Chinese president that peace and tranquility in the border region constituted an essential foundation for mutual trust and confidence and for realising the full potential of the bilateral relationship.
The joint statement also reflected the prime minister’s stand that peace along the border and early resolution of the boundary dispute was necessary for strengthening the bilateral ties in all fields.
Modi on Thursday asked the Chinese president to resume the stalled process of demarcating the LAC. Xi, however, declined to commit any timeframe to restart the process.
Though the LAC, at present, separates India and China in the absence of a mutually agreed boundary, differences in perceptions about the alignment of the line are often blamed for its transgressions and consequent tension and stand-offs.