Taj Mahal to backdrop imp Sino-Indian talks?

NEW DELHI: After the recent strife in bilateral ties, India and China are looking to add some oomph to efforts by diplomats on both sides to stabilise the relationship. The government is considering hosting the next round of boundary talks between NSA Ajit Doval and Chinese foreign minister and State Councillor Wang Yi not here in Delhi but in Agra.
If all goes according to the plan, Wang will land here on December 20 and depart straight to Agra for the dialogue next day. As first reported by ToI on December 8, the 22nd round of boundary talks will happen on December 21. During the last round of border talks in Chengdu, Wang had given Doval a guided tour of Mount Qingcheng and the latter can be expected to do the same for his guest at the Taj, if Agra indeed turns out to be the venue.
Both sides haven’t yet confirmed the meeting, conscious as they are of the vicissitudes to which the relationship has been subjected in the recent past.
The choice of Agra as venue, even if not announced yet, with a more than likely photo-op at the Taj Mahal is significant though. The boundary talks between the Special Representatives have for years been staid affairs, held as these have been away from the media glare mostly in the capital. While there has been little progress in recent times in these talks, Wang in August this year was reported to have come up with some “early harvest” proposals on the boundary issue in a meeting with foreign minister S Jaishankar.
Both sides have not yet revealed the contents of these proposals but the Indian government is said to have finalised its response.
It’s not clear yet if Wang will also have a meeting with Jaishankar. The Chinese side is apparently keen to have one. The Doval-Wang meeting is important for the 2 countries not just to ensure that the relative peace at LAC prevails but also to build upon the second Modi-Xi informal summit held in Chennai in October this year.
The boundary dialogue was initially scheduled to take place in the second week of September but finally had to be called off apparently because Wang wanted to fly to India directly from Islamabad after he had participated in trilateral talks with Pakistan and Afghanistan. The government didn’t want to be seen as entertaining any effort to mediate between India and Pakistan, not least in the aftermath of the Article 370 amendment.
Official sources said Doval and Wang will review al aspects of bilateral ties and a discussion on India’s decision to pull out of RCEP couldn’t be ruled out.
At the last meeting of the special representatives, which took place in Chengdu in 2018, Doval and Wang had directed the bilateral Working Mechanism on Consultation and Coordination for Border Affairs to work for more confidence-building measures which could promote communication between Indian and Chinese border personnel.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*