India, China to soon resume border talks
New Delhi: India and China could soon resume talks between their special representatives in charge of resolving the border dispute—a step toward normalising ties.
“We don’t have any confirmed dates for the talks as yet. The two sides are in touch. Once we have some dates for this, we will let you know,” foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters on Thursday.
Kumar also rejected China’s objection to Indian defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, asserting that the state is an integral part of the country and Indian leaders are free to go there.
“Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and Indian leaders have as much freedom to visit Arunachal as they have to visit other states in the country,” Kumar said.
On Monday, China objected to Sitharaman’s first visit to Arunachal Pradesh over the weekend, saying her tour of the “disputed area” was not conducive to peace in the region.
India and China have held many rounds of talks since the two sides appointed special representatives to resolve their boundary dispute. So far, there has been no substantial progress made in the rounds that started in 2003.
The main brief of the two special representatives—since this mode of interaction was set up —is to discuss a solution to the boundary issue.
China claims 90,000sq. km of Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh and occupies around 38,000sq. km in Jammu and Kashmir, which India claims as its territory.
Also, under a China-Pakistan boundary agreement signed in March 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180sq. km of Indian territory in PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) to China. While the India-China boundary has been largely calm, thanks to pacts signed in 1993, 1996 and 2005, both sides frequently accuse the other of incursions.
The move to resume talks follows a tense 73-day-long military standoff between the armies of the two nations over a road that China was constructing on Bhutan’s Doklam plateau that ended on 28 August.
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