New Delhi, Jan 16 (ANI): Special Representatives (SRs) of India and China met here on Monday to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues, including further progress to be made to resolve the vexed boundary question that has been a bone of contention between New Delhi and Beijing for over five decades.
Both sides reported substantial progress in Monday's talks. National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon later hosted a banquet for his Chinese counterpart State Councillor Dai Bingguo here this evening at the Taj Mansingh Hotel located in the heart of the capital, which was attended by Chinese officials and Indian diplomats and bureaucrats, past and present.
In his welcome speech, Menon said talks between the Indian and Chinese delegations were fruitful, progressive and conducted in an atmosphere of cordiality.
He also revealed that discussions on the boundary question did take place along with other issues of bilateral importance to the two countries.
He said officials of both sides also discussed other developments in the region, and described State Councillor Dai Bingguo as a veteran diplomat who had overseen the steady progress of Sino-Indian talks over a couple of decades, and specifically as a Special Representative over the past eight years. These meetings included interactions with four National Security Advisors and Special Representatives since 2003.
Menon, however, said that while Bingguo had visited New Delhi on several occasions, he had not fulfilled a promise to undertake more personalized visits beyond the Indian capital.
Responding to Menon's welcome speech, Bingguo said India and China had begun this exercise of discussing the boundary question and other key bilateral issues of mutual importance with great confidence and both sides had scaled much heights and achieved more progress in the past eight years than in the years and decades gone by, but were yet to scale the "summit" of the mountain.
Admitting that he was a veteran of 71, he added that he had had meetings with four national security advisers and special representatives, which was a testimony to the fact that neither New Delhi nor Beijing have been "lazy" in trying to achieve mutually acceptable political and diplomatic goals.
He said that if India and China can carry forward their current level of cooperation not only on the boundary question, but on other issues and areas as well, "we can work miracles".
He also jocularly remarked that New Delhi was not the only Indian city that he had visited, adding that he had undertaken visits to Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and the states of Kerala and Gujarat. He, however, hoped that he could come back and visit other Indian cities in the future.
He said that his association with India went back almost 30 years, and he wished from the bottom of his heart, that ties between the two countries would progress along expected lines within the Sino-Indian framework.
He said it was the duty and responsibility of the leaderships of the two countries to ensure further progress in talks on key issues, and hoped that neither country would ever go to war again. By Ashok Dixit (ANI)
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