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India, China to take up border row
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives today 
Visit to spur economic ties between 2 nations
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18
The boundary dispute, against the backdrop of the recent incursion by the Peopleís Liberation Army (PLA) in Ladakh, will top the agenda of talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang who arrives here on Sunday on a three-day visit to India.

However, a border defence cooperation agreement (BDCA) proposed by China is unlikely to be signed though the two countries would ink accords in other fields such as micro irrigation, waste water management and translation of classic and temporary works after delegation-level talks between the two leaders on Monday.

The two countries are also looking at the possibility of issuing a joint statement at the end of the visit. Mandarins at the Foreign Office are quite relieved that the 20-day face off between the troops of the two countries at the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) Sector was resolved through some quiet diplomacy, paving the way for the Chinese Premierís visit.

Had the border tension continued, it would have led to the derailment of Liís trip, seriously affecting the bilateral relationship. It would have been much more embarrassing for Beijing since Li is said to be keen on visiting India as his first port of call after assuming the Premiership in March, realising the huge potential of the vast Indian market for the Chinese economy, which is currently witnessing some turbulence.

With the focus of the visit shifting to the boundary dispute, Beijing is expected to nudge New Delhi to take an early decision of the BDCA, which, among other things, proposes more communication and expansion of friendly contacts between the two troops on the two sides. Briefing the media here today, Gautam Bambawale, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the External Affairs Ministry, said the BDCA was being discussed between the two sides and it would continue to be discussed even during the upcoming visit.

While India is yet to make up its mind on the proposed accord, it is, in turn, understood to have, suggested to the Chinese a military commander-level mechanism to deal with incidents like the one that recently occurred in Ladakh. 

Brahmaputra Dam issue likely to figure too

  • A border defence cooperation agreement proposed by China is unlikely to be signed though the two countries would ink accords in other fields
  • India is understood to have suggested to the Chinese a military commander-level mechanism to deal with incidents like the one that recently occurred in Ladakh
  • Another ticklish issue likely to figure during the talks will be Chinese construction of dams over the Brahmaputra River, affecting the flow of water to the Indian side
  • The two countries are also looking at the possibility of issuing a joint statement at the end of the visit

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