India committed to 'early settlement' of boundary issue: Sushma Swaraj

Beijing, Feb 1: India is committed to finding an "early settlement" to the vexed boundary issue, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said on her maiden visit to China as she proposed a six-point template to build Sino- India ties to realise the common dream of 'Asian Century'.

Addressing an India-China Media forum at the start of her four-day visit here, she said the two countries should follow action oriented approach, broad base bilateral engagement, convergence of common, regional and global interests, develop new areas of cooperation, expand strategic communication, fulfil common aspirations to usher in an "Asian Century".

Sushma Swaraj

Highlighting that her visit is taking place against the backdrop of new government taking over office in India with a decisive mandate, Swaraj said Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government propelled the aspiration of young, vibrant and enterprising generation.

"Even in the last eight months it is already evident that dramatic transformations are underway in my country that will accelerate our journey to modernity," Swaraj said.

She said Prime Minister Modi already met Chinese President Xi Jinping thrice and once Premier Li Keqiang. Foreign Minister Wang Yi was the first foreign dignitary to have been invited by India after Modi government took over, Swaraj said pointing to the importance India attaches to its relations with China.

"Our relationship today has reached a level where we have interactions in fields that could not have been imagined some years ago. We have made considerable progress in establishing and expanding defence contacts and exchanges, including across our border," Swaraj said.

"They contribute to the maintenance of peace and tranquillity there, a perquisite to, for the further development of our relationship. On the boundary question my government is committed to exploring early settlement," she said, referring to the long pending boundary issue.

Chinese position is that the border dispute is confined to 2,000 kms mostly on Arunachal Pradesh whereas India asserts that the dispute covered the western side of the border spanning to about 4,000 km.

The two countries have held 17 rounds of Special Representative talks so far to resolve the boundary dispute. The issue also figured during talks between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi during his historic visit to India in September last year.

The two leaders had agreed to make efforts to resolve the border dispute at the earliest.


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