India, China working on border cooperation mechanism: Khurshid news
11 May 2013

India and China are working on a new Border Defence Cooperation Agreement in order to avoid a repeat of the type of incidents like the recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said today.

Khurshid, who is back from a two-day visit to Beijing after the brief border stand-off between the two neighbours, said the two sides have realised that incidents like the recent incursion in Daulat Beg Oldi should not happen as such incidents would only help mar existing ties between the two countries.

During his two-day visit to Beijing, Khurshid had extensive talks with China's new Premier Li Keqiang, state councillor and special representative for India-China boundary talks Yang Jiechi and foreign minister Wang Yi regarding the recent border stand-off at Depsang valley and Li's proposed visit to New Delhi later this month.

Khurshid said special representatives of India and China will meet in a couple of months to discuss in detail the issues related to boundary.

However, he said the two sides decided not to reopen the recent incursion by Chinese troops 19 km into Indian territory. ''We did not do any post-mortem or apportion blame.''

He, however, expressed satisfaction that the mechanisms in place worked well to resolve the stand off.

''China has proposed sometime back a proposal for Border Defence Cooperation Agreement...We have also given our suggestions,'' he said.

Chinese premier Li Keqiang is also unlikely to take up any contentious issues during his visit, Khurshid said, adding, ''There are no prickly issues, issues of major differences which can be seen as obstacles.''

He said the two countries are expected to sign memoranda of understanding (MoUs) during the Chinese premier's visit to India and during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's subsequent visit to Beijing later during the year.

''This is for the first time since 1954 that a two way visit by the two prime ministers of the two countries in the same year,'' Khurshid said.

Chinese media also welcomed the peaceful resolution of the border stand-off and Khurshid's subsequent visit to Beijing, saying that the fact that the two countries have shown maturity in resolving differences showed the importance of China-India relations.

"China-India have great wisdom to handle sensitive issues," the ruling Communist Party-run People's Daily Online commented in an article.

"The good news is that over the past half century, China and India have learnt from the lessons of history, made efforts to promote mutual trust on politics and security and effectively controlled differences so as to promote the steady development of bilateral relations," it said.

Meanwhile, defence minister A K Antony today defended India's right to build border infrastructure and said the Army and Air Force will continue its vigil on the borders.

"Each country has a right to build border infrastructure in their own land. If China has a right to develop infrastructure, India also has a right. Over the years, the building of infrastructure has been going on," Antony told reporters.

India and China ended a 21-day standoff in Daulat Beg Oldi sector on 5 May after the two sides agreed to pull back their troops to their earlier positions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

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India, China working on border cooperation mechanism: Khurshid