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7th round of Indo-China border talks in Feb

By Anil K Joseph in Beijing
January 10, 2006 18:25 IST
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India and China have agreed to move ahead pro-actively on outstanding issues between them and reached on a 'important consensus' on resolving the vexed border problem for which their Special Representatives will hold the next round of talks in late February, in India.

The decision on the seventh round of talks on the border issue was reached following Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran's meeting with Chinese Executive Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, who is also the Chinese Special Representative to the India-China border negotiations, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan told reporters in Beijing.

Saran, who is in China for the second round of India-China Strategic Dialogue - an exercise aimed at enhancing cooperation and coordination in regional and global issues of common concern, told Indian journalists separately that the two countries had agreed to move ahead pro-actively on the outstanding issues.

"We are now working together in the next round to try and evolve a framework for the border settlement. Both sides are committed to seek an early settlement on the basis of the political parameters and guiding principles for settlement of the Indo-China boundary question, which were adopted last year," he said.

"It was reaffirmed in our meetings that what we are looking for is a political settlement adopting a package approach and proceeding from a long-term and strategic perspective of our relationship," Saran said.

Commenting on Saran's meeting with Dai, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong said, "The two sides reached an important consensus that the two governments will proceed from the overall situation of developing friendly relations between us and make positive efforts to promote the process of border talks."

"We have agreed specifically that in late February, in India, we will hold the seventh round of border issue talks between the Special Representatives," he said, adding that the specific agenda will be fixed through diplomatic channels.

The India-China boundary issue has been lingering for many decades, hindering speedy development of bilateral ties.

India claims that China has illegally occupied 43,180 sq km of Jammu and Kashmir, including 5,180 sq km illegally ceded to Beijing by Islamabad under the Sino-Pakistan boundary agreement in 1963. On the other hand, China accuses India of possessing some 90,000 sq km of its territory, mostly in Arunachal Pradesh.     

Saran held separate talks with Chinese State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Vice Foreign Minister for Asian Affairs Wu Dawei.

"We have found the strategic dialogue a very valuable forum for very friendly and frank exchange of views in terms of the global perspective of our relationship," he said, adding, "It has certainly confirmed that there is a strong consensus on both sides in taking this relationship forward."

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Anil K Joseph in Beijing
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