India and China have decided to resolve their long-standing border dispute according to the Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the Boundary Question, a pact the two governments had signed in April 2005.
Both sides have also decided to start talks on a civil nuclear agreement, to expand their civil nuclear energy programmes.
The 2005 agreement had virtually spelt out the contours of a settlement, taking into account the two sides’ “strategic and reasonable interests”. It had prescribed any settlement “should safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas”.
In a joint statement issued after a meeting between President Pranab Mukherjee and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Friday, the two countries said, “Recalling the Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the Boundary Question signed in April 2005, both sides reiterated their commitment to an early settlement of the boundary question and expressed conviction this would advance basic interests of the two countries and shall, therefore, be pursued as a strategic objective.”
Both sides have agreed to seek a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable” solution to the border dispute pertaining to the definition of the Line of Actual Control. They have tasked their respective special representatives with reaching political consensus on the issue, under the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs.
They have decided until the matter is settled, they will maintain “peace and tranquillity” as an “important guarantor” for the growth of bilateral relations. They also mentioned furthering of ties between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army of China and said both would seek “improved bilateral military ties” for “building mutual trust and confidence”.
The statement said regular visits into each other’s countries would be undertaken by defence ministries and military leaders of the two countries. Both will explore ways to achieve economic cooperation in new areas to address the rising trade deficit against India. These areas include industrial investment, infrastructure development, energy conservation and environment protection, the high-tech sector, clean energy and sustainable urbanisation.
India and China will also explore ways to establish joint ventures and collaboration in creating smart cities. In this regard, a dialogue mechanism will soon be set up between the finance ministry’s Department of Economic Affairs and China’s Development Research Centre of the State Council. The joint statement also reiterated China would invest $20 billion in India through five years.
Before leaving for China, Xi invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit that country soon, which Modi accepted.