Post-Doklam, India, China agree on need to maintain border peace

New Delhi: Special Representatives of India and China on Friday held “positive and focused” talks here on the long-drawn boundary question and agreed on the need to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas –nearly four months after the Doklam stand-off was resolved.

Special Representatives — National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Yang Jiechi, State Councillor and a Communist Party Politburo member, also exchanged ideas on various confidence building measures at the 20th round of talks, held annually.

Both sides also agreed to seek “mutually acceptable resolutions of their differences with due respect for each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations”.

“The Special Representatives undertook a comprehensive review of earlier rounds of the talks and agreed that an early settlement of the boundary question serves the fundamental interests of both countries,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement following the talks on the border question.

Stating that the talks were “positive and focused”, the statement said that the Special Representatives “reemphasised their commitment to achieve a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the India-China boundary question at an early date”.

“The two sides agreed that pending the final resolution of the boundary question, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas,” it stated. “In this regard, the Special Representatives exchanged ideas on various confidence building measures.”

This was the first such meeting after Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a 73-day face-off earlier this year in Doklam region near the India-China-Bhutan trijunction and comes amid reports of heightened Chinese military presence near that area.

Earlier this month, the Doklam issue came up for discussion during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi here.

According to the External Affairs Ministry statement, both sides also reviewed the development of India-China bilateral relations, agreed to maintain regular contact and to advance the development of bilateral relations in all areas.

“They underlined the need for the two countries to build on their convergences, while seeking mutually acceptable resolutions of their differences with due respect for each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations,” it stated.

“They acknowledged that as two large developing countries engaged in their national modernisation, relations between India and China transcend their bilateral dimensions and have significance for peace, stability and development of Asia and the world. Both sides also exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest.”

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, when asked about the meeting , said both countries have made “tireless efforts” to solve the decades-old boundary dispute.

“State Councillor (Jiechi) is in India to exchange his views on the border affairs with his Indian counterpart (Doval). So these mechanisms are operating very well,” she said.

“We hope the Indian side will work with China to make the most of the current mechanism to uphold security and peace as well as tranquility in the border area so that we can create enabling conditions for the bilateral relations.”

Hua cited the breakthrough meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the BRICS meeting in Xiamen and said Doval and Jiechi would work on the lines of consensus reached between the two leaders.

Doklam is the new addition to a host of issues between India and China who fought a brief but bloody war in 1962 over their demarcated border.

India and China share a 3,448-kilometre long boundary which is divided into west, middle and east sections.

In the east, China claims India’s Arunachal Pradesh as its own while New Delhi lays claims to Aksai Chin occupied by Beijing in the west.

Following Friday’s meeting, the Chinese Special Representative also called on Prime Minister Modi.