Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon is in Beijing, meeting with top Chinese officials to discuss their long-running border dispute, development cooperation and other bilateral issues.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said Shivshankar Menon met with his Chinese counterpart, Dai Bingguo, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Wu Bangguo, the chairman of the National People's Congress and Premier Wen Jiabao.
Hong Lei said the two countries agree that as the largest developing countries in the world, China and India face opportunities for development and challenges. He said the two countries can cooperate for common development.
Chinese State Councilor and Special Representative on the Boundary Question, Dai Bingguo (L) and Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon smile after signing an agreement in New Delhi, India, January 17, 2012.
The talks between India and China focus in large part on boundary disputes. Analysts said the countries have made little progress since the first round of talks, which resulted in the 2005 agreement on guiding principles for boundary settlement.
During the second stage of talks, diplomats aim to create a framework for boundary settlement. The boundary disputes concern several thousand kilometers of land bordering Tibet and India.
Shivshankar Menon’s trip to China comes amidst rising tension about the South China Sea, a waterway rich in potential oil and gas reserves. India is not one of the countries that claims territory in the region, but this week Indian naval officials said they will protect their maritime and economic interests there.
India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has a stake in a gas field off the coast of Vietnam.
Although China may claim the oil and gas deposits in the South China Seas, Shi Yinhong, professor or international relations at Renmin University, said nationalist passions will not ultimately determine the country’s foreign policy.
“I think the statesmen on both sides are prudent and responsible," said Yinhong. "They know that India and China have rivalries and suspicions, but it will be enormously difficult to escalate into conflict.”
India and China launched their border talks in 2003. Dai Bingguo has been China’s special representative in all of the 15 rounds so far. Dai will retire in March; Menon did not meet with any members of the newly appointed seven-member standing committee of the Communist Party of China.