Source: Agencies21 Apr 2016 10:24:49

Beijing, April 21: During the visit of National security advisor Ajit Doval to China for annual 19th round of boundary talks, both India and China on Wednesday agreed to adhere to peaceful negotiations to settle the vexed border issue and reach a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution.

The decision was taken during the annual 19th round of boundary talks between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, amid negativity over Cina’s blocking of India’s bid in the UN to ban Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar.

Both the leaders had an extensive, deep and candid discussion on the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC), which remains undemarcated resulting in tensions between the two sides.

While China says that the boundary dispute is confined to 2,000 kms, mainly in Arunachal Pradesh in eastern sector which it claims as part of southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covered the whole of the LAC including the Aksai Chin occupied by China during the 1962 war.

According to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement, both sides agreed to adhere to peaceful negotiations to settle the boundary question. They will make efforts to reach a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution.

Besides the border issue, Doval and Yang, the designated Special Representatives, also have a larger mandate to discuss all contentious bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual concern. The issue of China putting technical hold on India’s recent bid to bring about a UN ban on Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief Azhar for his involvement in the Pathankot terrorist attack was also said to have figured during the talks.

Regarding Azhar, India’s UN Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin spoke of hidden veto at a meeting at an open debate in UNSC on ‘Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts’ in New York on April 16, while External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar called for a review of China’s decision to strike a common stand against terrorism.

For its part, China continued to stick to its stand, saying that its decision is based on facts and fairness. Defending China’s stand, Hua said “we oppose double standard in counter terrorism campaign. We have been dealing with the listing (of terrorists by UN) matter in accordance with the facts and relevant resolutions”. “We are also in sound communication with all relevant parties including the Indian side,” she said.

Both sides shared the view that China-India relations have broad prospects and both have far more common interests than differences. Bilateral ties have entered a new era of comprehensive and rapid development since Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a successful visit to India in 2014 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to China in 2015,

There has been an improvement in the bilateral exchanges between the two countries in various fields.” He also conveyed greetings by Modi to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. Barring the opening remarks, officials maintained total secrecy on the proceedings and Doval himself declined to speak to the media.

Ahead of the talks, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who concluded his visit to China on Thursday; highlighted India’s stand that there should be clarity about the LAC. It was highlighted by Modi both during Xi’s visit to India in 2014 and his own trip here last year.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that “we have been working to resolve territorial disputes through negotiations and consultation. China completely settled territorial disputes with 12 of the 14 land neighbours”.

Doval is scheduled to call on Li tomorrow which makes it a rare occasion for a Chinese premier to meet two top officials in such short time. Doval and Yang are also reported to have discussed a range of issues including India’s concern over USD 46 billion trade deficit with China in about USD 70 billion bilateral trade.