India and China will hold a fresh round of border talks in Delhi next week where the two sides are expected to focus on clarification of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), amid hopes to clinch a solution under the strong leadership in both the countries.
Officials said the 18th round of talks have political significance as it will be first round of negotiations after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power last year.
Special Representative and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who succeeded Shivshankar Menon, would hold talks with his Chinese counterpart and State Councillor Yang Jiechi.
The talks, expected to be held on March 23 and 24, is taking place in the backdrop of candid discussions between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping during latter’s visit to New Delhi in September last year.
The high-profile visit was overshadowed by the intrusion of Chinese troops at Chumar in Ladakh region. It was resolved after simultaneous withdrawal by both sides after Xi’s visit.
The incident prompted Modi to suggest Xi that “clarification of LAC” would greatly contribute efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity at the border where troops from both sides often assert their claims and counter-claims.
Xi said there might be incidents like Chumar as border is yet to be demarcated.
Official say LAC clarification could figure in this round of talks, which are being held in the backdrop expectations on both sides that since Modi and Xi have emerged as strong leaders, the two nations had a unique chance to strike a deal. Such optimism was aired by Menon during his recent visit here.
Significantly, the talks are also being held ahead of Modi’s first visit to China expected to be before May end.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who visited China last month to make preparations for the Prime Minister’s visit, spoke about the need for an “out of the box” solution on the border issue in order to not leave it for future generations.
Besides holding talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Swaraj also met Xi and Yang.
Wang recently said that the Indian elephant and Chinese dragon should “do more” to strengthen bilateral cooperation to clinch a final settlement of the boundary issue.
“As for China-India boundary question, it is a legacy of history. We have worked on it for many years and made some progress in the boundary negotiations,” Wang said addressing his annual press conference in early March.