India and China have agreed to “peaceful negotiations” to settle the border issue and reach a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution”.
The decision was taken during the annual 19th round of boundary talks in Beijing between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.
Both the leaders had an “extensive, deep and candid” discussion on the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC), which remains undemarcated.
According to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement, the leaders agreed to make efforts to reach a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution”.
The decision to resolve the border dispute comes just a day after India called out China for blocking India’s move at the UN to ban terror outfit JeM chief Masood Azhar.
Welcoming Doval, Yang in his opening remarks at the meeting said: “China-India relations carry special significance. China stands ready to use this important occasion to have a broad- ranging in-depth and candid discussion with Indian side on the bilateral relations, boundary question, regional and international issues and other issues of shared interest.”
Both sides shared the view that China-India relations have broad prospects and Beijing and New Delhi have far more common interests than differences.
On Monday Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had a crucial meeting with his Chinese counterpart. After the meet Parrikar came out to say that there needs to be clarity on the LAC issue to bring down tensions between the troops on both sides which aggressively patrol the border areas.
“We are insisting it should be done in order to really ensure a very stable border as all the issues take place because of perception,” Parrikar had said.
China maintains 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. But India asserts that the dispute covers the whole of the LAC including the Aksai Chin occupied by China during the 1962 war.
Bilateral ties between India and China are said to have entered a new era of comprehensive and rapid development since Chinese President Xi Jinping visited India in 2014 and PM Narendra Modi travelled to China in 2015.
India’s stand on the border dispute with China has always been that there should be clarity about the LAC. The issue has been highlighted by India in the past.
In the meeting, Doval and Yang are also reported to have discussed a range of other issues including India’s concern over USD 46 billion trade deficit with China in about USD 70 billion bilateral trade.
(With inputs from agencies)