China, India discuss ways to find peace on disputed border
Pending final resolution of decades-long row, nations agree need to ‘maintain peace and tranquillity’ in contested areas
China and India on Friday discussed ways to prevent a repeat of their recent military stand-off on a Himalayan plateau where their borders meet and agreed that resolving their boundary disagreements served the interests of both countries.
Relations between the two Asian giants have often been strained, partly due to an undemarcated border. They fought a month-long border war in 1962 and have been trying to settle the boundary since the 1980s.
The two sides agreed on Friday that pending the final resolution of the issue, it was necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in border areas, according to a statement by India’s External Affairs Ministry released at the end of the day-long talks.
The Indian side was led by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and the Chinese delegation by Special Representative Yang Jiechi. The two had met in Beijing in July on the sidelines of a meeting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit.
“The talks were positive and focused on bringing out the full potential of the closer developmental partnership between the two countries,” the statement said. “They re-emphasised their commitment to achieve a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the India-China boundary question at an early date.”
The latest confrontation took place where India and China’s border meets that of Bhutan. It started in June when Indian troops moved in to stop China from building a road in the Doklam region in Bhutan. Both countries agreed to disengage their troops on August 28.
The border dispute continues to bedevil relations between the two countries – both of which are armed with nuclear weapons and have 2.6 billion people between them – despite a recent warming of economic relations.
Each side accuses the other of occupying its territory. China claims about 90,000 square kilometres of territory in India’s northeast and cites the region’s cultural affinity with Tibet as evidence that the area is part of what it calls “southern” Tibet.
India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometres of its territory in the Aksai Chin plateau in the western Himalayas.
Friday’s talks were the 20th between the two sides on the border issue since the mid-1980s.