Ajit Doval to head China border talks

Ajit Doval to head China border talks

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has finally appointed his National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval as India’s special representative for boundary negotiations with China.

The appointment was officially announced on Monday, after Modi dropped his initial plan to give the job to a retired diplomat with expertise in dealing with China.

A press release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Doval had been appointed as the special representative of India “to conduct boundary negotiations and strategic consultations” with China.

“This arrangement will be part of the NSA’s overall assignment,” it added.
All previous NSAs, Brajesh Mishra, J N Dixit, M K Narayanan and Shiv Shankar Menon, were also designated as India’s special representative for boundary talks with China. They were all accorded the rank of a minister of state (MoS).

Doval, however, was appointed as NSA without being given the MoS rank. The government on Monday did not make it clear if he would be elevated to the rank of an MoS after being designated as the special representative.

Yang Jiechi, the state councilor of China, has been the special representative of Beijing for negotiations with New Delhi since 2013. Yang, a former foreign minister, and his then counterpart Menon held the 17th and last round of boundary negotiations in New Delhi in February.

The special representatives of India and China have been holding negotiations since 2003 to resolve the long-pending boundary dispute.

They reached an agreement in 2005 on the political parameters and guiding principles for settlement of the dispute. They have since been engaged in talks on a framework which will be followed by actual demarcation of the border.

After the new government took over in May, the prime minister was learnt to have considered the proposal of appointing former foreign secretary Shyam Saran as the special representative.

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