India and China to develop friendly relations
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
India and China planned to resolve boundary disputes peacefully and develop friendly relations with each other in the 15th round of boundary talks begun Monday. Shivshankar Menon, National Security Advisor, represented India while Dai Bingguo represented China.
To control the Sino-Indian border effectively, Liu Zhenmin, China's Assistant Foreign Minister, and S. Jaishankar, India's ambassador to China, signed an agreement titled "Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs". The text of the agreement, as released by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, states, "[The mechanism will] undertake other tasks that are mutually agreed upon by the two sides but will not discuss resolution of the Boundary Question or affect the Special Representatives Mechanism."
The agreement allows live contact between the countries' foreign offices for problems along the Sino-Indian border, officially called the Line of Actual Control (LOAC). Also, meetings are to be held in each of the two countries alternately, once or twice annually. The two sides see the agreement as an important step in gaining trust and strengthening each other.
Relations between the two countries have not been good since the Sino-Indian War of 1962. The relations lapsed in 2011 due to visa rows and exploration of oil in South China Sea. Further, the Dalai Lama's refuge in India has caused friction with China. China also claims 90,000 square kilometers of land governed by India in the Tibetan region and India claims 38,000 square kilometers of Kashmir held by China.
Analysts say China is facing both economic problems, and difficulties with neighbouring countries. Its major allies North Korea and Pakistan have their own troubles. China maintains unfavorable relations with other neighbours like Vietnam, Australia, and Japan.
The 'return to Asia' strategy of the United States focuses on China, and India figures in it as an important ally.
Dai wrote in a newspaper column, "What we face is a golden period to grow China-India relations. The world has enough space for China and India to achieve common development, as there are so many areas for us to work together". He further added during the session, "While working hard to develop itself, China is fully committed to developing long-term friendship and cooperation with India."
Dai claimed trade between the two countries has increased by a factor of 20 in the last ten years. He summarized, "As neighbors and two big countries with a combined population of 2.5 billion, China and India can join hands, seize the historic opportunity, and work together to further advance our friendship and cooperation".
The boundary talks were to be held in November, but were postponed over Chinese disapproval of India allowing the Dalai Lama into a Buddhist meet in New Delhi.
- Harmeet Shah Singh. "India, China bid to ease border row for broader ties" — CNN International, January 17, 2012
- TNN. "China, India shower rose petals ahead of boundary talks" — The Times of India, January 17, 2012
- IANS. "India, China sign mechanism for border peace" — The Times of India, January 17, 2012
- "India, China set up working mechanism on borders" — The Hindu, January 17, 2012