China, India Agree on More Talks to Resolve Border Disputes

(Bloomberg) -- China and India agreed to hold further diplomatic talks to resolve a long-standing border dispute, which has stalled relations between the nuclear-armed Asian neighbors.

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S. Jaishankar, India’s foreign minister, and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Astana, Kazakhstan on Thursday. The two agreed to an “early meeting of the Working Mechanism on Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

Yi told his counterpart that China and India should properly handle and control the border situation and “actively” resume normal exchanges with each other, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a separate statement. Both sides agree to begin a new round of consultations on the border issue as early as possible, it said.

Disputes over the 3,488 kilometer (2,167 miles) unmarked border erupted in clashes in 2020 that left at least 20 Indian and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers dead. Both countries have deployed thousands of soldiers, and moved tanks, missiles and fighter jets close to the border as tensions escalated.

The two sides have held 21 rounds of military-diplomatic talks to try to resolve the border conflict but progress has been incremental. China has shown some willingness to work on the matter, with the embassy in India saying last month that border disputes “should be handled properly” and a stable relationship with India was in the interest of both nations.

The two foreign ministers echoed those comments Thursday, agreeing that the “prolongation of the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in its statement. Jaishankar urged parties “to redouble efforts to achieve complete disengagement” of troops from the friction points along the border, it said.

--With assistance from Jing Li.

(Updates with comment from China’s foreign ministry)

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