India, China hold maiden border mechanism talks

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India, China hold maiden border mechanism talks

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Beijing/New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) India and China Tuesday firmed up rules of the newly-minted border mechanism that could include emergency consultations through phone or video-conferencing on issues relating to peace on the frontier. They also discussed additional confidence-building measures.

Senior officials of India and China concluded the two-day meeting of the working mechanism on India-China border affairs in Beijing and agreed to have regular consultations to maintain peace on the frontier.

The Indian delegation was led by Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary (East Asia) and comprised of representatives of the ministries of external affairs, home and defence as well as members of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.

The Chinese delegation was led Deng Zhonghua, director general, Department of Boundary and Oceanic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and comprised of representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Defence of China.

"The two delegations agreed on the rules governing the functioning of the mechanism which include convening 1-2 meetings a year, and if required, holding of emergency consultations either through meetings or by telephone/ video conferencing," the external affairs ministry said in New Delhi.

"The talks were held in a constructive and forward looking atmosphere with the common objective of continuing to maintain peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas."

The two sides also discussed additional confidence building measures and discussed the possibility of an alternate route for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra and additional items for border trade at Nathu La Pass in Sikkim.

The second meeting of the working mechanism will be held in India.

The border mechanism was sealed after talks between special representatives of India and China during the 15th round of boundary negotiations last month.

The mechanism is expected to help prevent misunderstanding between the two countries arising from incursion into each other's territory, stemming from the undemarcated Line of Actual Control (LAC).

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi stressed on the need for the two countries to implement the agreements on maritime security and border mechanism.

"We believe we need to do all these specifics very well in implementation of important agreement reached at the leadership level including conducting consultations between two sides on maritime security and working together to ensure peace and tranquillity in China-India border areas," he said.

Alluding to his visit to New Delhi last year that saw the announcement by the two sides to launch a maritime dialogue, Yang said that both the countries want to see continuous, sound and steady growth of their bilateral relations and want to enhance, increase mutual trust and expand cooperation.

"I had a thorough exchange of views and meeting of minds with my Indian counterpart on series of aspects including to maintain the momentum of high level exchanges between the two countries advance the practical cooperation on all field and intensifying cultural exchanges between the two sides," Yang said.

During his visit to New Delhi last week, Yang discussed with his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna the forthcoming visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to India for the the fourth BRICS summit of the five emerging economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The BRICS summit will be held in New Delhi March 29.

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