With the objective of maintaining all-round cooperation and strategic trust, India and China seem to be heading for an amicable solution to the highly contentious border issue. Both nations have signed a pact to establish a "Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs” which aims to resolve border disputes and strengthen military cooperation. The agreement was finalized in New Delhi recently, signed by India’s ambassador to China Mr.S.Jaishankar and Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin.
According to Indian officials in the Foreign Ministry, the working mechanism will create ways to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between military personnel and establishments of the two sides in the border areas. Issues pertaining to the border and working towards a congenial atmosphere between the nations will become a priority as powerful and responsible countries in the continent. The Working Mechanism will be headed by a Joint Secretary-level official from the Ministry of External Affairs of India and a Director General-level official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and will be composed of diplomatic and military officials of the two sides.
The signing of this crucial pact was part of the 15th meeting of the Special Representatives on the Sino-Indian boundary question between Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo. Besides creating a framework for a resolution of the boundary question, the Special Representatives agreed that they would prepare a joint agreed record for their governments on the progress made on the border issue. Various other bilateral, regional and global issues were discussed as well and the next round of talks will be held in China, officials added.
India and China are trying to resolve these contentious issues by setting up the Working Mechanism for border issues since they need to foster greater bilateral ties enhance trust and security and build the India-China Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity. The two sides also keen to materialize the spirit of the Agreement between India and China on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) signed in 1993, the Agreement on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the Military Field Along the LoAC signed in 1996 and the Protocol on Modalities for the Implementation of CBMs along the LoAC signed in 2005.
The need to step-up bilateral ties has been re-enforced by China when its ambassador to India Zhang Yan recently acknowledged that there are differences and challenges for both nations due to historical reasons and that greater trust and cooperation is needed to resolve these issues. India’s national security adviser Shivshankar Menon said that the relations between India and China and their new equilibrium hold an important key to the emerging economic and strategic landscape of Asia and the world. Few months ago, India and China had resumed military exchanges as well and in end-2011, military dialogues were also initiated. Menon had earlier indicated that while the border issue was a difficult one, efforts are on by both sides to keep the border peaceful and resolve the issue. On the settlement itself, we are in the second stage of the three stage process of agreeing principles, a framework and finally a boundary line, he added.