‘India-China may sign border pact’
(Gulf Daily News | April 11, 2005)
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao arrived in New Delhi yesterday for
talks as India said it hoped for a lasting resolution to a thorny
border dispute which once led the world's two most populous nations
to war. Indian foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said the
two sides would sign an agreement on political "guiding principles"
on the vexed boundary issue during talks today between Wen and his
Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.
He said the agreement was firmed up during discussions earlier
yesterday between Indian National Security Adviser M K Narayanan
and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo.
The talks were "fruitful with a view to finalising the documents
on Guiding Principles for signatures tomorrow," Sarna said.
Narayanan and Dai were nominated by India and China in 2003 to
negotiate territorial claims as experts delineate the boundary on
a map and then on the ground.
"For the first time we see a commonality on both sides to find a
solution," Narayanan told India's Star TV yesterday.
"In the past, the problem was that the exchange of (border) maps had
been impeded and now we are hopeful that once the agreed framework
is in place then the question of maps will be redundant," he said.
The dispute is the consequence of a brief but bitter border conflict
in 1962 that left bilateral relations in shreds.
India says China occupies 38,000 square km of territory in
Kashmir while Beijing claims 90,000 square km - all of the remote
northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Earlier, a Tibetan man, Tenzin Tsundue, breached tight security
and embarrassed Indian security officials by reaching the top
of the 45-metre tower in the southern city of Bangalore's Indian
Institute of Science to shout anti-China slogans as the Chinese
premier passed by.
"Free Tibet! Wen Jiabao, you cannot suppress the truth," he shouted
as police officers looked on.
He dropped pamphlets on Wen's car, Chinese security officials, local
policemen and journalists. He waved a Tibetan flag and a banner.
In New Delhi, the foreign ministry said in a statement: "This is
an unfortunate incident. Premier Wen Jiabao is an honoured guest
of this country and all efforts are being made to ensure a complete
success of this visit."
Police in the Indian capital threw a tight security blanket along
the route of Wen's motorcade from the airport.
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