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China and India to continue border meeting at corps commander level

By Aparajit Chakraborty in NEW DELHI | | Updated: 2023-06-04 19:19
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Indian and Chinese national flags flutter side by side at the Raisina hills in New Delhi, India, in this file photo. [Photo/Xinhua]

The 19th round of the India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting will be held later as both sides vow again to promote de-escalation in the western section of their border.

The meeting is part of the efforts to defuse tension, restore peace and tranquility in the border areas, according to press statements issued by both countries after the 27th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination or WMCC on Border Affairs held in New Delhi on May 31.

The meeting was co-chaired by Director General of the Department of Boundary and Oceanic Affairs of the Foreign Ministry of China, Hong Liang, and Joint Secretary of the East Asia Division and External Affairs Minister's Office of the Ministry of External Affairs of India, Shilpak Ambule.

The Indian Army and China's People's Liberation Army held the 18th round of senior commanders' talks on April 23 to defuse tensions along the LAC.

Prior to this, on Feb 22 the two sides held 26th WMCC meeting and in Dec last year the two sides had held talks between the corps commanders to discuss outstanding issues along the border.

"It is an important move. It will take time to resolve because border issues are always very sensitive and it can be resolved only by discussion," said General Shankar Roy Chowdhury, a former Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army.

"Hopefully after the meeting some tension will die down, and work can progress. The border alignment will require very detail discussions. I don't know how long it will take and one must not be impatient," the former chief of Indian Army pointed out.

Terming the May 31 New Delhi meeting a positive move, experts said that it is good that veteran diplomats from both sides talk to each other to resolve this long standing border problems between the two countries.

Both sides noted that restoration of peace and tranquility will create conditions for normalizing bilateral relations, the statement said. Hong, along with his delegation, also met Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra.

Both sides exchanged views on implementing the common understandings reached between the two foreign ministers recently, and agreed to settle relevant issues in the western section of border areas, among others, at a faster pace, the statement issued by China's Foreign Ministry said.

A statement from Indian Federal Ministry of External Affairs said, "the two sides reviewed the situation along the LAC in the Western Sector of India-China border areas and discussed proposals for disengagement in remaining areas in a frank and open manner."

"Restoration of peace and tranquility will create conditions for normalizing bilateral relations," it added.

The two sides pledged to continue discussion through diplomatic and military channels towards promoting de-escalation of the border situation, and further defend peace and tranquility in the border areas, the statement from the Chinese side said.

Both countries are renewing their efforts towards normalizing bilateral relations. At this stage, both countries must be careful to not let these recent efforts towards normalization fall short of its goals, said Haans Freddy, a professor in the department of political science at Madras Christian College in Chennai.

On May 3 in Goa, Indian Federal Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar held a bilateral meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting where the top diplomats held a "detailed" discussion on the border row and emphasized to ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas.

In another development, Bhutan and China made more progress in implementing a "three-step roadmap" toward resolving their boundary dispute, according to a joint statement issued by Bhutanese and Chinese foreign ministries after concluding 12th Expert Group Meeting in Thimphu on May 26.

"The two sides expressed their confidence in the Three-Step Roadmap and reiterated the importance of increasing the frequency of their meetings to make further progress in its implementation. They agreed to hold the next EGM in Beijing at an early date," said the joint statement, adding the two sides also agreed to hold the 25th Round of China-Bhutan Boundary Talks as soon as possible at mutually convenient dates.

The writer is a freelance journalist for China Daily.

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