Special representatives of India and China held "constructive and forward-looking" talks over the vexed boundary question as the two nations resolved to "intensify" their efforts to achieve a "fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable" solution to the issue on Saturday. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met at Dujiangyan near Chengdu in southwestern Sichuan province for the 21st round of Special Representatives' (SR) talks.
Both sides issued official statements which spoke of advancing the process to find a solution to the border issue.
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"Recalling the strategic guidance and support to their work provided by the leaders at the Wuhan Summit (between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping), the SRs resolved to intensify their efforts to achieve a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the India-China boundary question at an early date," a statement issued by the Indian Embassy after the talks said.
A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry of China said under the political guidance of the leadership of the two countries, both sides would continue to advance the negotiation process of the special representatives' mechanism; strive for an early settlement of the boundary question that is fair, reasonable and acceptable to both sides.
The statements by the two sides are being seen as a step forward from last year’s boundary talks held in New Delhi.
Last year, both sides "agreed that an early settlement of the boundary question serves the fundamental interests of both countries".
The Indian statement said while an early solution would serve the fundamental interests of both the countries, the two designated SRs for the border talks said pending the final solution, the two countries should maintain peace and tranquillity at the borders, ensuring that the dispute does not affect the overall development of bilateral ties.
The Chinese statement too said, "before the final settlement of the border issue, we will jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border areas between the two countries".
The India-China border dispute covers 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC). China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet.
This was the first round of talks for Wang after he succeeded State Councillor Yang Jiechi earlier this year. Wang has become the state councillor, a rank higher than the foreign minister in the Chinese government's hierarchy.
Doval and Wang also "underlined the importance of approaching the boundary question from the strategic perspective of India-China relations and agreed that an early settlement of the boundary question serves the fundamental interests of both countries," the Indian statement said.
"They noted the mature handling of issues relating to the India-China border areas since the Wuhan Summit," it said.
Acknowledging the importance of predictability in border management and underscoring the importance of maintaining strategic communication at all levels, the SRs held discussions on various confidence building measures to promote exchanges and communication between their border personnel.
Doval and Wang also reviewed recent developments in bilateral relations following the Wuhan Summit and subsequent meetings between Modi and Xi in Qingdao in June 2018 and in Johannesburg in July 2018.