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Shankar Narayanan P asked: Has China's emergence as one of the largest trading partners of India adversely affected the settlement of outstanding border problems between the two countries?

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  • Rukmani Gupta: There is no evidence to suggest that the development of bilateral trade between India and China has adversely affected the settlement of the boundary question between the two countries. India and China have committed to a negotiated settlement of the boundary question, and 15 rounds of talks on the boundary issue attest to this. While working towards a negotiated settlement, the two countries have emerged as leading global economies and it is thus unsurprising that their economic ties have also grown. Even though China is an important trading partner, it cannot be suggested that the economic ties impinge on India's position on the boundary question. Mutual economic interests may be seen as creating stakes for the maintenance of peace between countries, but these cannot be the rationale for decisions affecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity.