NSA Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi

India and China are discussing a proposal for talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi to resolve the stand-off along the disputed boundary between the two nations. 

Doval and Wang are presently the Special Representatives of India and China for strategic consultations and boundary negotiations. They held the 22nd round of boundary negotiations in New Delhi on December 21.

A source in New Delhi told DH that even if India and China agreed to have talks between the Special Representatives, it would not be considered as the 23rd round of boundary negotiation. It would be an engagement to review the progress in talks between the senior military officials and the diplomats to resolve the current stand-off, particularly to assess implementation of the understanding reached between the Corps Commanders of the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) during meetings on June 6, 22 and 30, added the source. 

New Delhi underlined during its engagements with Beijing that Chinese PLA’s bid to unilaterally alter the status quo along the disputed boundary “damaged considerable trust” between India and China.

Notwithstanding the June 15 clash at Galwan Valley and the casualties on both sides, the senior commanders of the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA on June 22 and June 30 agreed to implement the understanding they had reached on June 6 for disengagement at the face-off sites along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto boundary between the two nations. They also agreed on the need for an “expeditious, phased and step wise de-escalation” from the border areas.

Doval had also held a meeting with his then counterpart in the Chinese Government, Yang Jiechi, in Beijing in July 2017, when the two sides had been engaged in a military stand-off at Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan. The two Special Representatives had held talks on the sideline of a meeting of the senior security officials of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations. 

The Special Representatives of India and China have been holding talks to resolve the boundary dispute since October 2003. They concluded an Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question in 2005. They have since been engaged in talks on a framework, albeit without much progress over the past 15 years. Once they finalise the framework for settling the boundary dispute, it would be followed by actual demarcation of the border on the map.