The talks will not be easy, especially against a backdrop of acrimony over China’s military build-up in Tibet and Xinjiang and Beijing’s and India’s deployment of additional troops and beefed up air defences in Arunachal Pradesh.
Indian officials have also expressed concerns over the Qinghai-Tibet railway and its proposed extension to Xigaze and Nyingchi, prefectures that border India.
China claims about 90,000 square kilometres in India's northeast, including most of Arunachal Pradesh, which it likes to call South Tibet.
India claims about 43,180 square kilometres in the Aksai Chin region, bordering the northern Kashmir state, including 5,180 square kilometres handed over to the Chinese by Pakistan in 1963, something China deeply resents.
The 13th round of talks began with genuine interest on both sides to smooth relations. Many Indian media also decided not “demonise” their powerful neighbour. But Indian Foreign Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna called for caution saying that immediate results are not likely, that "time and patience” were needed.
China's ambassador to India Zhang Yan, who described the two countries as “great neighbours”, said that growing economic relations between the nations called for the utmost political wisdom in handling existing problems. Still his words belie recent vituperative attacks on India in China's state-run media.
In fact for Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research, “China's objective is to keep India engaged in endless and fruitless border talks so that Beijing, in the meantime, can change the Himalayan balance decisively in its favour through development of military power and infrastructure.”