New Delhi/Beijing: Looking to keep their sensitive ties on course despite differences over a host of issues, India and China will hold two-day boundary talks in New Delhi beginning Monday, during which they are also expected to sign a landmark border mechanism.
India's external affairs ministry in New Delhi and the Chinese foreign office in Beijing on Saturday announced the boundary talks, which were postponed in November due to Chinese objections to Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama's participation in a global Buddhist conclave in New Delhi.
"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 in New Delhi.
National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, India's special representative, will hold talks with China's State Councillor Dai Bingguo that will focus on evolving a framework for delineating the border on the map.
The two sides are now in the second stage of boundary negotiations, which entails evolving a framework for demarcating the disputed border. The second stage is proving to be the "most difficult part of negotiations" as it will form the basis on which the new boundary will be fixed, said informed sources.
The two sides are also expected to sign a landmark border mechanism Tuesday that seeks to establish direct contact between New Delhi and Beijing in case of intrusions or incidents resulting from misperceptions arising from the Line of Actual Control.
The two officials will also seek to iron out differences over recent irritants like the Chinese denial of a visa to an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer that have shadowed ties between the two countries.
They are also expected to discuss the likely visit to India of Xi Jinping, tipped to succeed Chinese President Hu Jintao. Ahead of the talks, both sides have downplayed recent irritants in bilateral ties and sought closer collaboration to work jointly on global issues ranging from terrorism to climate change.
In a recent interview to Xinhua, Liu Zhenmin, an assistant foreign minister of China, said: "China hopes that the two sides will support each other and learn from each other, so as to push for better and faster development of Sino-Indian strategic and cooperative partnership."
Earlier this week, Shivshankar Menon said in New Delhi: "India and China have demonstrated an ability to deal with difficult issues and to build a cooperative partnership based on common interests. Its regional and global impact, and its long term significance to our own development, is what makes the India-China relationship strategic in the true sense of the term."
"I am confident that by working together, India and China will be able to successfully face the challenges that the new geopolitics are throwing up, and would best serve their own national interests by further deepening their strategic cooperative relationship," he said.
China recently denied visa to an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer who was to go as a member of the Indian military delegation to China, on grounds that he was from Arunachal Pradesh, the Indian northeastern state which is claimed by China. This led to India scaling down its delegation from the original 30 members to 15.
The arrest of two Indian traders in the Chinese town of Yiwu, who were subsequently released after New Delhi's intense diplomatic intervention, also underlined the need to keep sensitive ties on an even keel.