India hopes boundary talks will further strengthen ties with China

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New Delhi, Aug.7 (ANI): India on Friday expressed the hope that the 13th round of boundary talks with China would further strengthen strategic and cooperative partnership between the two countries.

In an opening statement released prior to the two-day talks being held here, India's National Security Adviser and New Delhi's Special Representative for the talks, M.K.Narayanan said: "These are complex issues for which the mechanism of Special Representatives (SRs) has been created."

"We will also review the entire state of our relations and to see how we can strengthen our partnership. I am confident that our discussions will go a long way to further strengthening of our strategic and cooperative partnership with China," he added.

There was no comment from the Chinese side.

The two sides are meeting after a gap of nearly a year. The last round of talks between the Special Representatives was held in Beijing in September 2008.

National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo who are appointed as special representatives along with the battery of high level officials from both countries, including China's Deputy Foreign Minister and newly appointed Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will take part in the talks aimed at creating a framework for the final settlement of the boundary dispute.

The boundary talks have already reached the second stage and once the framework for final settlement is created, the next stage will be the "demarcation and delineation" of the boundary, according to sources.

New Delhi is hopeful that the current round of talks will see a further movement forward. Sources have told ANI "Dialogue between the two countries is progressing expeditiously"

Both countries have already set parameters and guiding principles for a boundary settlement. The two Asian giants have decided to safeguard the due interests of their settled populations in the border areas and to take into account historical evidence, national sentiments, practical difficulties and reasonable concerns and sensitivities of both sides, and the actual state of border areas.

The border dispute has bedeviled the relationship between the two countries for decades, with both claiming each other's territories.

China has repeatedly staked a claim to large tracts of land in Arunachal Pradesh, while New Delhi has charged China with occupying a large part of Jammu and Kashmir.

In the late 1950s, soon after occupying Tibet, China occupied a large tract (approximately 38,000 square kilometers) of Aksai Chin, a remote part of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir bordering Pakistan, and built a highway (National Highway 219) through it to connect with its eastern province of Xinjiang. India considers this an illegal occupation. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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