India, China conclude two-day talks for peace on border

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) India and China Wednesday concluded their two-day talks here as part of the joint mechanism for peace on the border, reviewing incidents of incursion along their disputed boundary.

The two sides also discussed the three-week stand-off in the Depsang area in April, and additional confidence-building measures.

The talks during the third meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs were held in a "constructive and forward-looking atmosphere", Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson of the external affairs ministry, said.

Both sides "reviewed recent developments in the India-China border areas with the objective of enhancing peace and tranquillity between the two countries," Akbaruddin said.

The two teams discussed additional confidence building measures and also "consulted on measures to improve the functioning of the Working Mechanism and make it more efficient," he said.

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

The Chinese side was led by Ouyang Yujing, who is director general, Department of Boundary and Oceanic Affairs,in the ministry of foreign affairs, and comprised of representatives of the ministries of foreign affairs and national defence of the People's Republic of China.

The Chinese delegation also called on Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai.

The two delegations discussed the possibility of introducing an additional route for the Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra.

The fourth meeting of the Working Mechanism is to be held in China at a mutually convenient time. The first meeting was held in March 2012 and the second in November.

The two teams did not deal with the boundary question, which was handled by their Special Representatives June 28-29 in Beijing. The meeting also did not discuss the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, a document on maintaining peace on the border which was proposed by China earlier this year and is still under discussion.

The two-day talks come in the wake of recent reports of incursions by Chinese troops in Chumar in Ladakh.

In the Depsang incident, Peoples Liberation Army troops on April 15 entered the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh and pitched tents, leading to a three-week face-to-face situation between the troops of both sides.

The situation was resolved following hectic negotiations - through the joint mechanisms for resolving such issues - and troops of both sides reverted to status quo ante position.

According to reports, Chinese troops on horseback crossed the LAC on three occasions - on July 16, 17 and 20 - in Chumar and on one occasion held posters asking the Indian forces to vacate Chinese territory.

India is in a relatively sound position with roads and surveillance towers in Chumar, which the Chinese are unhappy over.

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