Chinese Daily: 'India, China need to show flexibility to settle border issue'

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Beijing, Feb 11: Calling on India to adopt a more "pro-active approach" to resolve the boundary issue before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's expected May visit to China, a state-run Chinese daily on Tuesday said both sides need to demonstrate "flexibility and innovation" to reach a settlement especially over Arunachal Pradesh.

In an article published in the web edition of the state-run Global Times, strategic affairs expert Lan Jianxue, said consensus has been reached during recent External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit that border dispute should not be left to future generations.

'India, China need to show flexibility

"China has been always committed to resolve the border dispute with great sincerity, and the Chinese government used to offer a package proposal for settling the issue, which requires each side to make a compromise, yet it was turned down by India.

Therefore, we have brought forward the idea of working hard together and moving toward the same direction, because we feel that India has not kept up the pace with China. We hope that the two parties can reach a consensus based on not only mutual understanding and accommodation, but also a strong will of showing flexibility as well as innovation in the near future," the article said.

The article is published ahead of the expected 18th round of Special Representatives border talks between NSA Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

"However, to this day, the Indian government has not given us a reply or any signal of goodwill for adjustment over this issue. In the light of this, the ball is in India's court to adopt a more proactive approach," said Lan, an associate research fellow with the China Institute of International Studies.

"Now, that Swaraj has put forward the potential out-of-box solution this time, we have every reason to expect that the logjam could be broken and a new beginning could be made. But it remains to be seen what dedication Modi will put into a practical settlement for the bitter territorial dispute," it said.

It said that India's regular patrolling along the border areas has been stepped up, and a massive infrastructure programme has been launched in these areas. "Under such circumstances, more patience is needed for a breakthrough of the solution," said the article.

China has been always committed to resolve the border dispute

"However, since Swaraj has raised that the upcoming state visit of Modi will be an action-oriented visit, and will narrow down areas of differences in order to resolve the border dispute, India is making efforts in showing flexibility and creating a favourable atmosphere on resolving the issue," it said.

Outlining Chinese thinking, it said if there is an "out-of-box solution", it is likely a breakthrough over the eastern part of the border, meaning the Arunachal Pradesh which China calls Southern Tibet.

Lan said the "illegal McMahon Line" is at the heart of the boundary dispute. "This is a line that China has never accepted. If India won't make concessions or adjustments over the line, there will be no suggestion whatsoever that the two sides are any closer to agreeing," Lan said in the article.

"As ties grow closer, both countries should be more inclined to resolve all unsettled issues, and not let problems become an obstacle of deepening the bilateral relations or sabotage the big picture," it said.

China says the border dispute is confined to 2,000 kms mostly in Arunachal Pradesh where as India asserts that the dispute covered the western side of the border spanning to about 4,000 kms.

PTI

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