An exclusive report by a British daily has revealed that the latest round of border talks between India and China, held mid-January, ended in a deadlock after Beijing insisted it would settle for nothing less that “its share” of Arunachal Pradesh.
The 15th round of Sino-Indian special representative talks held in New Delhi had concluded on January 17 with the two Asia giants claiming to have made ‘substantial progress’ during the two-day meeting.
However, the dailymail.co.uk in a report dated January 28, said that behind the façade of bonhomie, lied bitter, unsolved contentions.
Citing “highly placed” sources privy to the discussions between the two special interlocutors – National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart, state councillor Dai Bingguoa – the daily reported things went off track after Beijing insisted that India should first discuss the eastern boundary in Arunachal Pradesh.
“The hosts were surprised when Dai, couching his query in diplomatic niceties, asked Menon how much territory New Delhi would part with,” the daily quoted sources as saying.
Menon, who has formerly served as envoy to Beijing, reportedly argued that under article 3 of the guiding principles of the Sino-Indian boundary discussions, both sides should make meaningful and mutually acceptable adjustments to their respective positions on the boundary question, so as to arrive at a package settlement to the boundary question. The keywords in the mentioned principle being “a package settlement” referring to boundary settlements in all the three sectors – eastern, western, and middle border regions.
India and China occupied Tibet share a 3488 km long disputed border which was the cause of a short but bloody war in 1962.
While China claims the whole of the eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as its territory, India wants back a large area of land from the northern Aksai Chin area that China occupied after the war.
China’s insistence on taking “its share” of Arunachal Pradesh is also seen as a deviation from a previously agreed principle in 2005, when both sides had decided not to disturb settled population.
“But Beijing simply stuck to its guns and told India to first put on the table its proposal for the division of Arunachal Pradesh, specifying the proportion of territory swap,” the report cited sources as saying.
The 15th round of special border talks was scheduled in November last but had to be cancelled after China demanded India scrap an international religious gathering where the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama was to give a valedictory speech.