Boundary settlement with China would not be possible unless India makes concession in the eastern sector, said Dai Bingguo, China’s long-time negotiator on the border talks indicating that Beijing is open for an exchange of land with New Delhi.

China is ready to make concessions in Aksai Chin in western sector  if India cedes with Tawang tract of Arunachal Pradesh, Dai said during an interview to a Beijing-based publication. Dai was the Special Representative on the boundary issue for 15 rounds of talks until his retirement in 2013.

Spelling out in detail for the first time his thoughts on a solution,Dai said that India “held the key” to the settlement and that if it took into account China’s concerns in the eastern sector, Beijing would similarly do so in other areas.

“The disputed territory in the eastern sector of the China-India boundary, including Tawang, is alienable from China’s Tibet in terms of cultural background and administrative jurisdiction.” he said.

He said it was not until February 1951 that “the local government of Tibet [was] forced to stop its actual administration of Tawang”. “Even the British colonialists who drew the illegal ‘McMahon Line’ respected China’s jurisdiction over Tawang,” he said.

However, Tawang is far from being a simple affair given the presence of the Tawang monastery, which commands a special place in Tibetan Buddhism and is highly regarded by Buddhists in India as well,