India and China will hold the 18th round of border talks in Delhi from Monday– the first round of negotiations after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power last year – where the two sides are expected to focus on clarification of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Special Representative and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval would hold talks with his Chinese counterpart and State Councillor Yang Jiechi amid hopes to clinch a solution under the strong leadership in both the countries.
The two-day talks is taking place in the backdrop of candid discussions between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping during latter’s visit to Delhi in September last year.
The high-profile visit was overshadowed by the intrusion of Chinese troops at Chumar in Ladakh region. It was resolved after simultaneous withdrawal by both sides after Xi’s visit.
The incident prompted Modi to suggest Xi that “clarification of LAC” would greatly contribute efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity at the border where troops from both sides often assert their claims and counter-claims.
Xi said there might be incidents like Chumar as border is yet to be demarcated.
Chinese officials say LAC clarification could figure in this round of talks, which are being held in the backdrop expectations on both sides that since Modi and Xi have emerged as strong leaders, the two nations had a unique chance to strike a deal. Significantly, the talks are also being held ahead of Modi’s first visit to China expected to be before May end.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who visited China last month to make preparations for the Prime Minister’s visit, spoke about the need for an “out of the box” solution on the border issue in order to not leave it for future generations.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had recently said China and India should “do more” to strengthen bilateral cooperation to clinch a final settlement of the boundary issue.
“The dispute has been contained. At the moment, the boundary negotiation is in the process of building up small positive developments,” Wang said ahead of the border talks.
Showing its sensitivity on Arunachal Pradesh, China had recently strongly protested to India over Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the border state.
China says the border dispute is confined only to 2,000 kms mostly in Arunachal Pradesh whereas India asserts that the dispute covered the western side of the border spanning to about 4,000 kms, especially the Aksai Chin area annexed by China in 1962 war.