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After appam, tapioca and fish, what will China serve?

March 14, 2006 13:20 IST

The first visit by Dai Bingguo, Executive Vice Foreign Minister and Special Representative of the Chinese Premier, to Kerala's backwaters to talk peace did not produce a lasting solution to the vexed India-China border issue.

However, as Kerala's culinary delicacies, like appams, idlis and tapioca and pearl spot fish, captivated Bingguo's palate, he has promised India's National Security Adviser M K Narayanan a similar cultural experience in China.

"The eighth round of India-China talks will be now held in China. And Dai Bingguo has promised that it will not be in Beijing, but in a great tourist, cultural spot in the interiors," a Ministry of External Affairs official who attended the two-day border talks at the Kumarakom Taj Garden Retreat told

But have the Kumarakom talks produced any positive results? "Yes, we are moving closer to a settlement on the border issue. We hope it will be announced after the next round of talks," the official disclosed.

The border talks between India and China concentrate mostly on Chinese control of Aksai Chin in Kashmir and the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh, where China has laid claim to nearly 90,000 sq km of Indian territory. For many years now, India and China have held a number of talks to resolve this contentitious matter.

After two days of talks, Narayanan visited the Sri Krishna Temple at Guruvayoor. Before leaving, he said, "The talks are moving in the right direction. Our effort is to extricate talks from the logjam. I will be dishonest if I say that it will be settled in this round."

The Chinese diplomatic delegation, led by Bingguo, left for China via Singapore on Tuesday.

Officials said after the conclusion of the delegation-level talks, Narayanan and Bingguo had an exclusive hour-long meeting to negotiate a package proposal on all sectors of the border.

The bilateral talks were the first to be held in this backwater resort and officials on both sides are hopeful that the next round, held in a similar location in China, will help reach a solution  to the long-standing border dispute. While the exact dates have not been fixed, the next round is likely to be held in July.

Sun Yuxi, the Chinese ambassador to India, and Nalin Suri, his Indian counterpart, are helping Narayanan and Bingguo in their talks.

The ten-member Indian delegation engaged in the Kumarakom talks included Suri, Ashok Kantha, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, and Sourabh Kumar, Director, MEA.

The Chinese delegation comprised Yuxi, Hu Zhengyue, Director-General in the Department of Asian Affairs, and Lin Shanghn, counsellor, Asian Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

George Iype in Kochi