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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 30, 2007
Biannual Indo-China border meet turns cold and quick
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Biannual Indo-China border meet turns cold and quick

The bi-annual border personnel meeting between Indian and Chinese army officials at Bumla in Arunachal Pradesh turned out to be formal, quick and completely official without any cultural festivities that had become a routine affair in recent years.

By Sudhakar Jagdish

New Delhi, May 30 : The bi-annual border personnel meeting between Indian and Chinese army officials at Bumla in Arunachal Pradesh turned out to be "formal, quick and completely official" without any cultural festivities that had become a routine affair in recent years.

The meeting, which has been consistently being held since 1999 after the signing of a bilateral 1993 Peace and Tranquillity agreement, lacked euphoria this time in the wake of recent controversies surrounding the Chinese intrusion of Indian territory in Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh, as claimed by the State BJP MP Karen Rijiju.

The border meeting that was led by Brigadier Sanjay Kulkarni from Indian side and Colonel Zang Wei Guo from the Chinese side remained mostly confined to closed-door meeting, as the 'casual' interaction between the personnel of the two countries and their family members were completely shunned off this time.

However, Brigadier Kulkarni told reporters that the meeting was held in a cordial environment.

Brig. Kulkarni also refuted reports about the possible enhancement of troops along the Sino-India border in Arunachal, a day ahead of the visit of a 30-member Parliamentary delegation to Tawang from which the controversial MP Karen Rijiju has been left out.

In spite of a successful week-long visit to Beijing by Army chief General J J Singh that saw the two countries institutionalising the yearly defence dialogue, which was part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreed between the two countries during the 2006 visit of the then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee to China, the bilateral relations between the two neighbours have run into a rough weather.

On Tuesday Beijing asked New Delhi not to bring "differences" to the fore till the boundary dispute is settled. hinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said in Beijing that bringing bilateral differences into the front before the boundary issue is resolved might affect exchanges between the two nations.

"We hold that the boundary issue between China and India should be settled fairly and reasonably at an early date through friendly consultations," she had said when asked to comment on China's refusal to grant visa to an Indian IAS official from Arunachal Pradesh.

The claims of Chinese intrusion followed by Beijing's denial of visa to a Arunachal born IAS officer that led to cancellation of the visit of 107 IAS officers for mid-career training in China have brought a new chill in the bilateral relations of the two countries.

In German city Hamburg, Pranab Mukherjee met with his newly appointed Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and both the leaders during their 40-minute talk discussed the boundary dispute also.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh could possibly visit Beijing as he had accepted Chinese President Hu Jintao's invitation when the latter had paid a visit to New Delhi in November 2006.

Recently, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan concluded the ninth round of the Sino-India border talks with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo at Coonoor.

The two countries have different perceptions about the border. Experts, however, say that the differences are purely of a technical nature. The contours used by both countries for the demarcation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) do not have the same "intervals". This leads to the absence of sharp demarcation in some places. That is why in the late 1980s the Chinese moved the border a few kilometres in Tawang.

Despite 22 years of continuous border negotiations the longest between any two states in modern history, India is the only country with which China has not settled its land frontiers or even fully defined a line of control. China occupies 38,000 square kilometers of Indian Territory in Aksai Chin, 5,180 square kilometers in the Shaksam valley in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), and claims 90,000 square kilometers in Arunachal.


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