Indian and Chinese officials are scheduled to meet Monday in New Delhi for talks over an ongoing border dispute, the first such meeting since National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was appointed as India's special representative on the issue last year. The talks are aimed at improving ties between the two countries before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Beijing in May, BBC reported.
China's special representative Yang Jiechi is in New Delhi for the eighteenth round of the border talks and is also expected to meet Modi. The dispute over the 2,520-mile-long Himalayan border, which divides Asia's largest nations, has clouded the expanding commercial links between India and China. Modi, who has been pushing for better ties with regional powers and historical allies since he came to power last June, has expressed his desire to improve relationships with China and resolve the border issue.
The border dispute led to a brief war in 1962 and the two countries have engaged in occasional faceoffs in the region ever since. China lays claim to over 35,000 square miles in the eastern sector of the Himalayas, while India has claimed that China occupies 14,600 square miles of its territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the west.
Tensions between the two countries escalated last September after hundreds of Chinese troops allegedly crossed over to a part of the Himalayan territory claimed by India before Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Delhi. During his visit, Xi reportedly said that he was committed to working with India to maintain "peace and tranquility."