Boundary talks soon, China looking at an ‘early harvest’


Boundary talks soon, China looking at an ‘early harvest’BEIJING: India and China will hold the next round of boundary talks — the first since the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir and defanging of Article 370 — between the two special representatives, NSA Ajit Doval and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, in the coming weeks. They would also be taking place before the informal summit between PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in October.

This was one of the decisions taken during foreign minister S Jaishankar’s talks with Wang here on Monday as both sides work hard to manage their differences on various aspects of the border dispute, which has acquired urgency after India changed the status of J&K.

Wang told a China-India media forum on Monday that China was looking at “early harvest” in border negotiations. The Chinese side gave some “proposals” to the Indian government regarding this early harvest, though there is no official confirmation of what they may be. These were discussed with Jaishankar, which the Indian side will work on in the coming days.

This is the first indication that China may be wanting to move forward on resolving the border issue with India. This has been an Indian priority for several years, but Indian officials involved in the process believed China was unwilling to expedite the process. The fact that it is China that has come up with early harvest proposals indicates some forward movement in their thinking.

In his discussions with Wang, Jaishankar clarified that the legislative measures regarding J&K has “no implication for either the external boundaries of India or the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China”. More important, he stressed, “India was not raising any additional territorial claims”.

According to an official statement, Jaishankar said a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable boundary settlement of the boundary question” had to be on the basis of the 2005 Political Parameters and Guiding Principles. It was felt necessary to remind China of the 2005 agreement as by 2006, China was walking back from that particular agreement. India will proceed cautiously, waiting to see how the negotiations proceed.