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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

FM urges India to work for peaceful border area

By Wang Chenyan  (China Daily)

08:14, February 27, 2012

BEIJING - The Foreign Ministry on Saturday urged India not to take any action that could complicate the situation in a Chinese border area long claimed by India.

Ministry spokesman Hong Lei's comment came after news reports said Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony participated in activities in Southern Tibet, which India calls "Arunachal Pradesh".

Hong called on India to cooperate with China to maintain peace and stability in border areas.

During his visit to Southern Tibet, Antony attended the so-called Statehood Day event on Feb 20 and pledged to guarantee the "safety" of the region.

The defense minister said India would strengthen its security facilities in the region to make "the eastern border more secure".

Hong reiterated China's position on Sino-Indian border issues has been consistent and clear-cut.

And China advocates seeking a fair and rational solution through equal and friendly negotiations, the spokesman said.

"Both Beijing and New Delhi are against a military solution to their border disputes, but the ruling party in India has shown an increasingly tougher stance in recent years," said Sun Shihai, an expert on South Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Sun told China Daily that frictions had been common on the long border China and India share, but this has become rare since both sides reached an agreement last year.

"However, the ruling party and defense officials in India now intend to strongly stress its claims due to political purposes and rising nationalism in Indian society," Sun said, adding that foreign support cannot be ignored as India is seen by some as a check on China's growing power.

Since the late 1980s, when India unilaterally announced the establishment of the region it calls "Arunachal Pradesh", both sides have held 15 rounds of talks over the long-standing dispute. But little progress has been made.

"If the Indian government sticks to its tough position, the negotiations are unlikely to deliver any more achievements," said Fu Xiaoqiang, an expert on South Asian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, adding that New Delhi should take the responsibility for the lack of progress.

"India should recognize disputes exist on the eastern section of the border and any military occupation or economic investment cannot change the fact," Fu said.

"I think the spokesman's statement showed a remarkable degree of restraint on the issue, suggesting China hope it does not affect Sino-Indian relations," Fu said.

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