Ashok Tuteja, Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 14 The Special Representatives (SRs) of India and China will meet here on January 16-17 to hold the 15th round of boundary talks, it was officially announced here today. An agreement on setting up a joint mechanism on border management is expected to be signed at the end of two day-talks between the two sides.
The mechanism will comprise senior officials of the foreign and defence ministries of the two countries as well as representatives of the armed forces.
The Indian side will be led by National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshanker Menon while the Chinese team will be headed at the talks by state councillor Dai Bingguo.
“In addition to discussions on the India-China boundary question, the two sides will hold discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest,” the External Affairs Ministry said.
Ahead of the talks, Chinese Ambassador to India Zhang Yan expressed optimism about the outcome of the meeting.
“People-to-people contacts will be further expanded. I am confident that with joint efforts, we will take the strategic partnership to new heights,” he said at a function at the Chinese Embassy here.
The talks between the two SRs were to be held on November 28-29, 2011 but were postponed after the Chinese protested against the Dalai Lama’s scheduled participation in a global Buddhist conclave.
The Chinese are first said to have asked for the Dalai Lama’s address to the meet to be cancelled and when New Delhi refused to oblige, they demanded that the event itself be cancelled.
However, New Delhi unequivocally conveyed to Beijing that India was a democratic country and there was no restriction on freedom of speech here. Hence, China’s demand could not be met.
The SR mechanism was established in 2003 when the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee visited Beijing.