India and China discuss border dispute in an attempt to ease tensions
(14 February 2014)
The 17th round of India-China Special Representatives Talks has taken place this week, enabling both states to handle their differences and agree to maintain peace along the disputed 4,057km boundary.
Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon held negotiations with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi on Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th February 2014 in an attempt to ease tensions and work out an agreeable solution. They agreed that a strong India-China partnership bodes well for peace and stability in the region.
Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin commented, “Even while we are discussing this issue of boundary framework, there was an acceptance by both sides that they discussed and agreed the continued maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas is the cornerstone of an expanding India-China relationship”.
Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi stated the talks had yielded “initial results, enabling the two sides to properly handle their boundary-related differences and maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas”. He continued, “Over the years we have abided by mutual respect, deepened strategic trust and worked steadily to increase resilience of the bilateral relations”.
The two sides have encouraged regular discussions on all bilateral concerns, including terrorism, disarmament and international security and maritime issues, in attempts to further enhance trust and understanding. The Special Representatives agreed that 2014 would be distinct as the Year of Friendly Exchanges. Yang Jiechi commented, “China will, as always, uphold the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit and firmly pursue a foreign policy of building friendship and partnership with neighbouring countries”.
The two countries disagree over the demarcation of a largely uninhabited region in the high reaches of the Himalayas. In 1962 the dispute led to a brief war, with China seizing territory it stated to have sovereign claim over. In October 2013, both sides signed a Border Defense Cooperation Agreement, in an attempt to prevent minor incidents escalating into more dangerous and unstable confrontations. It also provides encouragement for cross border trade in an attempt to further reduce tensions. Trade between India and China grew to approximately $66 billion in 2012, benefiting both states.
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