‘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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