`China-India ties to be big story of 21st century`

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao says India and China not only have a multi-pronged dialogue but were also consulting each other on multilateral issues.

Updated: Aug 08, 2010, 15:27 PM IST

New Delhi: The relationship between India and China is a complex one but will be the "big story of the 21st century", Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said.

In an interview to a private news channel, Rao said that an "intelligently transacted dialogue" enables both the interlocutors to place their issues, which leads to "greater responsiveness and sensitivity to these issues".

She said: "I believe what that points to is the fact that this relationship, the relationship between India and China, is going to be the big story of the 21st century".

"A story based on dialogue, which we intend to conduct intelligently and which we intend to conduct with confidence so that our concerns are protected always," she added.

"That is exactly the context I referred to when I spoke of the complexity in the relationship. And that is what dialogue, intelligently transacted dialogue, enables you to do when you seek more responsiveness from the other side about your concerns; this is exactly so that we are able to place these issues in context and to seek the other side`s focus on this issue and greater responsiveness and sensitivity to these issues," said Rao, a former Indian ambassador to China.

Rao, who was previously Indian ambassador to China, said the two Asian giants not only have a multi-pronged, multi-sectoral dialogue but were also consulting each other on multilateral issues.

"I think there is a multi-sectoral dialogue with China on the bilateral front and if you look at the global multilateral front, there are increasing areas of convergence... And so this is really, as I said, the trajectory along which we hope the dialogue develops," she said.

India and China had fought a border war in 1962 but have since witnessed an increasing economic relationship, with trade volume expected to increase to USD 60 billion by the end of this year.

There had been a few hiccups in recent months, but Rao said that there were enough institutional mechanisms to let the two sides to keep talking to each other.

"Here in officialdom we deal with realities. And let me tell you the reality of the situation is that the border between India and China has been peaceful for the last few decades and the effort from both sides is to ensure that the mechanisms that we have put in place for confidence-building and for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity work well, and there is constant communication between the two sides," she said.

IANS