Border issues main focus in Parrikar’s China visit

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With a focus on resolving border issues, India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in Beijing raised the ante with the Chinese military leadership. He stressed on the need to resume the process of clarifying the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Mr Parrikar is on a five-day visit to China from April 17. He met his Chinese counterpart General Chang Wanquan at the PLA headquarters in Beijing and expressed India’s displeasure to China for blocking the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar at the UN Security Council sanctions committee. Mr Parrikar said: “What happened in the UN was not the right direction that they have taken on terrorism because having a common line is in the interest of India and China both”.

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had too conveyed India’s displeasure when she met China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi along the sidelines of the Russia-India-China trilateral in Moscow.

The main focus of Mr Parrikar’s visit was the boundary issue and ensuring stability along the LAC. India has been pressing China to resume the process of clarifying the LAC. However, due to different perceptions in certain areas, Beijing is reluctant to take up the issue.

China views the LAC clarification as a diversion from the boundary talks.

The 19th round of talks will be held on April 20 when National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who is the Special Representative for India-China boundary talks, will hold meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

“We are insisting it should be done in order to really ensure a very stable border. Because all the issues take place because of perception,” Mr Parrikar said.

India and China have agreed to increased confidence building measures, including adding new border personnel meeting points. After two new points in Daulet Beg Oldie in Ladakh and Kibithu in Arunachal were opened last year, the two sides are looking at a sixth point in the middle sector. Claiming progress in the relations, Mr Parrikar said both sides moved closer to operationalising hotlines between military commands to enable faster addressing of any incidents.

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