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India, China for early settlement of boundary issue

Monday 11 April 2005

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greets Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan on Monday. Photo: AP

New Delhi, April 11. (PTI): Heralding a new dimension in bilateral ties, India and China today agreed to work for "early" settlement of the boundary question, establish a strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity and further promote exchanges in the military field.

After wide-ranging discussions here, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao signed a landmark Joint Statement and witnessed the signing of 12 accords, including a protocol on modalities for implementation of confidence building measures in the military field along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

In a path-breaking agreement outlining 11 political parameters and guiding principles, the two sides decided to make "meaningful and mutually acceptable adjustments" to their respective positions on the boundary question to arrive at a "package settlement" which is "final" covering all sectors of the India-China boundary.

The agreement, signed by Special Representatives M K Narayanan, National Security Adviser, and Chinese Executive Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, said the two sides would give due consideration to each other’s "strategic and reasonable interests", and the principle of mutual and equal security.

Declaring that differences on the boundary question should not be allowed to affect the overall development of bilateral ties, the two sides decided to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the issue through consultations on an "equal footing".

They agreed 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.

After intensive negotiations, the two sides agreed that the boundary should be along "well-defined and easily identifiable" natural geographical features to be mutually agreed upon.

In reaching the boundary settlement, the two sides should safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas.

The Joint Statement said both sides were convinced that an "early settlement of the boundary question will advance the basic interests of the two countries and should, therefore, be pursued as a strategic objective."

The two sides agreed to complete the process of exchanging maps indicating their respective perceptions of the entire alignment of the LAC to arrive at a "common understanding" as soon as possible.

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