China-India Ties Witness Progress in 2012

K J M Varma/Beijing
China-India Ties Witness Progress in 2012
Sino-India ties witnessed a positive momentum in 2012, the year that also saw the once-in-a-decade leadership change in China's ruling CPC, with the two Asian giants reaching a "common understanding" on the progress made in the 15 rounds of their border talks so far.

The "common understanding" was reached during parleys between National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and China's State Councillor Dai Bingguo here in early December.

It is to be approved by the leadership of both countries and it relates to the talks between the two sides on the framework for a boundary settlement, which is the key to final phase of the boundary demarcation.

Both Menon and Dai are designated Special Representatives for the boundary talks. They held an informal round of discussions on December 3 and 4 on the bilateral relations ahead of the transfer of power in China.

So far, the two countries have held 15 rounds of talks to resolve the dispute.

Also, China, for the first time in 10 years, will have a new Special Representative for the boundary talks and India- China bilateral engagement in 2013, as Dai, China's point man for India, is set to retire along with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, who provided a positive momentum for bilateral ties during their decade-long stint in power.

The "common understanding" on the progress made on the border talks, which is yet to be revealed, is expected to provide a degree of clarity for the new Chinese Special Representative to be named after March.

Framework for the settlement is the second stage of the negotiation process agreed by the two countries. It is aimed at working out a framework for boundary settlement.

The first stage of working guiding principles resulted in agreement in 2005, which had set out political parameters and guiding principles for boundary settlement.

Once the framework is in place, the two countries would set out for a "fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable" boundary settlement.

While the boundary settlement process is still far away, the two sides put emphasis on keeping the border peaceful and deepening the relations without letting the issue to hamper positive momentum in the ties.

India asserts that the border dispute covers about 4000 km, while China claims it is confined to about 2000 km to the area of Arunachal Pradesh, which it refers to as Southern Tibet.

With the current year drawing to a close, a number of high-level visits are expected to take place between India and China in 2013, when the new Chinese leadership would formally take office and is expected to provide a new momentum to the deepening engagement between the two Asian giants.

The contacts are likely to begin after the new CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping takes over as President and Li Keqiang as Premier in March, succeeding Hu and Wen respectively.

Also, 2013 promises to be a good year for the India-China bilateral trade as Beijing pledged to address India's concerns over trade deficit, which crossed USD 23 billion in the first ten months of this year.

India wants major openings for IT, pharmaceutical and agricultural products in Chinese markets.

Last year the deficit stood at USD 27.07 billion even though bilateral trade touched all time high of USD 73.9 billion.
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