India, China hopeful of resolving border row
Updated: 2006-03-12 17:27
NEW DELHI - India is optimistic about settling a decades-old border dispute
with China, a top official said as the two sides held talks on the issue for a
India's National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Dai Bingguo, China's
executive vice foreign minister, met in the southern state of Kerala on the
dispute, which led to a brief war in 1962.
"Both sides are optimistic about reaching a decision," Narayanan was quoted
as saying by the Press Trust of India, adding that discussions in New Delhi on
the first day were "very good".
Dai also reported progress. "We are working together and making progress
continuously," he told reporters.
Minister Manmohan Singh (R) speaks to Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Dai
Bingguo (L) during their meeting in New Delhi March 11, 2006.
The two governments in June 2003 appointed special representatives to address
the border issue. The last round of talks was held in China in September.
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said during a visit last year that
resolving the border dispute was a top priority after Narayanan and Dai signed
an agreement setting the "guiding principles" for a possible agreement.
A formal ceasefire line was never established after the war but the border
has remained mostly peaceful.
India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometres (15,200 square miles) of
Indian territory in Kashmir while Beijing claims that 90,000 square kilometres
of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to it.
The visit by Dai, regarded as a Chinese trouble-shooter on nuclear issues,
comes shortly after New Delhi and Washington reached a historic pact paving the
way for the United States to provide civilian nuclear technology.
China has reacted cautiously to the deal, saying such nuclear cooperation
must conform to the rules of the global non-proliferation regime.
Beijing is believed to be concerned about expanding US influence in South
Asia, especially its growing ties with India.
But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Dai in a brief meeting in New Delhi
Saturday that developing good-neighbourly and friendly relations with China was
an important part of India's foreign policy.
During Saturday's talks between Dai and Narayanan, who is one of the key
architects of the nuclear deal, India was reported to have given an outline of
It still has to be ratified by the US Senate and the 45-member Nuclear
Suppliers Group, of which China is a member.