NEW DELHI, January 17: A day after beginning talks on the boundary question, India and China on Tuesday agreed to set up a working mechanism on border management to deal with important border affairs related to maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border.
The working mechanism, mooted by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, was finalised at the conclusion of the 15th meeting of the Special Representatives (SR) on the boundary question — National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo here.
The agreement to establish the “Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs’’ was signed by India`s Ambassador to China S. Jaishankar and China`s Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin.
It will “undertake other tasks that are mutually agreed upon by the two sides but will not discuss resolution of the Boundary Question or affect the Special Representatives Mechanism,’’ according to the text of the agreement released by the External Affairs Ministry.
The working mechanism will “study ways and means to conduct and strengthen exchanges and cooperation between military personnel and establishments of the two sides in the border areas.’’
The working mechanism “will explore the possibility of cooperation in the border areas that are agreed upon by the two sides.”
It will be headed by a joint secretary-level officer from the Ministry of External Affairs and a Director General-level officer from the Chinese Foreign Ministry and will comprise diplomatic and military officials of the two sides.
“The Working Mechanism will address issues and situations that may arise in the border areas that affect the maintenance of peace and tranquillity and will work actively towards maintaining the friendly atmosphere between the two countries,” says the text of the agreement.
The working mechanism will hold consultations once or twice every year alternately in India and China. Emergency consultations, if required, may be convened after mutual agreement.
Chinese State Councillor Dai Binggou said on Monday that Sino-Indian ties have made “substantial progress” and “can work miracles” together. He observed that the two sides have “scaled much height” and “produced some results” on the framework of settlement of the boundary issue.
The two sides expressed their belief in respecting and abiding by the Line of Actual Control, pending a resolution of the boundary question. They noted that strengthening peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas was “very significant” for enhancing mutual trust and security between the two countries, for resolving the boundary question at an early date and for building the India-China strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity.
While establishing the working mechanism, the two sides aimed for timely communication of information on the border situation, for appropriately handling border incidents and for earnestly undertaking other cooperation activities in the India-China border areas.
During the two-day talks, the Special Representatives also agreed to prepare a joint record on the progress made so far in the talks between them on the boundary question.
The SR mechanism was set up in 2003 following the visit of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to China with Mr. Dai and the then National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra as the SRs.
“Making a positive appraisal of the current state of bilateral relations, the SRs noted the importance of regular high-level exchanges and strengthened cooperation across different areas between the two countries,’’ an External Affairs Ministry statement said here.