Indian, Chinese officials meet in Beijing for talks on peace along the border

Maintaining peace along the border and increasing military-to-military contacts were in focus when top officials from India and China met in Beijing for a round of official talks on the frontier for the first time since the resolution of the Doklam standoff.

It was the 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), a mechanism initiated in 2012 to maintain peace along the disputed border.

Details of Friday’s meeting were not immediately available but it is believed both sides took stock of the situation along the border, especially in the aftermath of the standoff at Doklam or Donglang near the Sikkim border, where troops from the two countries were locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation for more than 70 days.

“The talks were held in a constructive and forward-looking manner. Both sides reviewed the situation in all sectors of India-China border and agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is an important prerequisite for sustained growth of bilateral relations,” said a statement issued by the Indian embassy on Friday evening.

“In this regard, the two sides also exchanged views on further confidence-building measures and strengthening of military-to-military contacts,” it added.

The Indian delegation, comprising diplomats and military officials, was led by Pranay Verma, joint secretary (East Asia), and the Chinese delegation was led by Xiao Qian, director general, department of Asian affairs in the foreign ministry.

The WMCC is different from the talks between the Special Representatives on the border issue, which is the most important mechanism to resolve the dispute. The WMCC specifically focusses on maintaining peace and tranquillity till a final resolution.

The body will “undertake other tasks that are mutually agreed upon by the two sides, but will not discuss resolution of the Boundary Question or affect the Special Representatives Mechanism”, according to the agreement on the WMCC.

The body is meant to “study ways and means to conduct and strengthen exchanges and cooperation between military personnel and establishments of the two sides in the border areas”.

Hindustan Times