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India, China move into last day of talks on border issue

By Staff
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Kumarakom, Kerala, Mar 13 (UNI) Special representatives of India and china -- National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo -- resumed their talks this morning on formulating a larger political framework to settle the boundary issue between the two countries.

Mr Narayanan and Mr Dai, who had three sessions of talks in this beautiful tourist resort yesterday, resumed their talks this morning on the last day of the seventh round of negotiations.

According to official sources, after the conclusion of the three-hour delegation-level talks yesterday evening, the two political representatives, assisted by their respective ambassadors, had an exclusive hour-long meeting before dinner last night.

The two delegations again met for about one-and-a-half-hours from 2200 hrs. last night.

Talking to mediapersons here before resuming the seventh round of talks, which started in New Delhi on March 11, Mr Narayanan and Mr Dai had expressed satisfaction at the progress of the talks and had said that if these continued at the present pace, the basic framework for boder delineation could be arrived at in the next two to three rounds.

The delegation-level talks, which started at about 1100 hrs.

today, are expected to continue till lunch-time. After a ''working lunch", the delegations will leave for Kochi in the afternoon.

The Chinese side will attend a reception at Kochi, hosted by Mr Narayanan, tonight. While the Chinese delegation will leave from Kochi for Singapore by an Indian Airlines flight, the Indian delegation will return to Delhi by a special flight.

The 20-member delegations include Indian ambassador to China Nalin Suri, Chinese ambassador to India Sun Yuxi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs Ashok K Kantha, Director, MEA, Saurav Kumar, Director General, Dept. of Asian Affairs, China, Hu Zhengyue and Councillor, Asian Dept, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lin Shanghn.

Mr Narayanan had said yesterday that the two sides are negotiating a ''package proposal on all sectors of the border".

While India says that China "occupies" 38,000 sq km of Indian territory in Kashmir, Beijing is laying claim to 90,000 sq. km. in Arunachal Pradesh.

Describing the border issue as a ''complex and long-standing'' one, Mr Narayanan had said that the two sides were working towards a framework which would be mutually acceptable to both countries and which would strengthen the bilateral ties.

India's recent civilian nuclear agreement with the US may also figure in the talks, Mr Narayanan had indicated. He had said that India would talk to China, which is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, to agree to what the United States had proposed on the issue.

When asked about China's "guarded response" to the Indo-US agreement, Mr Narayanan said there would be ''some reservations" while changing an existing system. India wanted to allay any fears that the US wanted to use the agreement as a "tool to check or contain China," he added.

UNI ARC VD DS1248

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