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Chinese team arrives for border talks
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 16
The Chinese expert delegation on boundary talks with India led by Vice Foreign Minister and Special Representative Dai Bingguo arrived here this evening with one overriding agenda: to repair the damage made by Ambassador Sun Yuxi during President Hu Jintao’s recent visit.

It is understood that Dai and company have been given special instructions by Beijing to rebuild trust and not make any acerbic comments. The Chinese envoy here, who queered the pitch on the eve of Hu’s India visit about a month ago, has also been told the clam up and not give any interviews to the media. Sun had rocked the boat violently by his categoric assertion that the whole of Arunachal Pradesh belonged to China.

Beijing understands the sense of hurt on part of India and, therefore, is treating the forthcoming SR-level round of talks at Hyderabad House here (January 17-18) as a fire-fighting exercise where trust has to be rebuilt.

The Chinese position on the eastern sector continues to be hard, though in the western sector they are adopting a “we-will-consider” approach.

However, the reality check for both the sides is that there can be no settlement on the boundary question involving population transfer. It is amply clear to both sides that there can’t be a situation wherein an Indian becomes Chinese overnight and vice versa. This has been the Indian position and the Chinese are increasingly appreciating this position.

The two sides are going to interpret the Guiding Principles and Political Parameters of 2005 for resolving the boundary dispute. The two countries’ Prime Ministers, in their bilateral meeting at Cebu (Philippines) a couple of days ago, had directed their SRs to pursue their negotiations with “vigour and innovation”.

Therefore, the latest round of talks is expected to be held in a much more positive atmosphere.

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