India asks China to be “sensitive”

PM and his Chinese counterpart have agreed to resolve "difficult" problems.

Hanoi: In the backdrop of concerns over
stapled visas being given by China to Kashmiris, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh Friday asked it to be sensitive to
India`s "core issues" as he met Premier Wen Jiabao here, even
as the two sides agreed to work their way to solutions to the
"difficult" problems.

At the same time, the two leaders agreed that there was
enough space in the world for both the countries to grow and
they should cooperate and collaborate. In this regard, Wen
will visit India by the end of this year, possibly in
December, a step that was immediately welcomed by Singh at the

It was also decided at the 45-minute meeting that the
Special Representatives of the two countries will meet by the
end of this month to discuss "difficult" issues, including the
boundary question.

"The Prime Minister raised the issue of all difficult
questions and showing sensitivity to each other...The Prime
Minister spoke of the need to show sensitivity to each other`s
core issues," National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon told
reporters while briefing on the meeting, the first top level
contact since the Sino-India defence exchanges were suspended
in July.

Menon refused to elaborate on the "core issues" but
sources noted that this relates to anything connected to Jammu
and Kashmir.

China has been giving visas to people of Jammu and
Kashmir on loose sheets of paper instead of passports, an
action seen by India as questioning its sovereignty.

The matter snowballed into a major controversy in July
this year when Beijing wanted to give such a visa to India`s
Northern Area Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal.

India responded by suspending high-level defence
exchanges for which Lt Gen Jaswal was travelling to Beijing
and has repeatedly made it clear that these will remain on
"pause" till China reverts to its position on the issue.

On whether the stapled visa issue was raised by Singh,
Menon was evasive, saying "we were instructed, SRs and
officials on both sides, to prepare for Wen Jiabao`s visit and
work our way to solutions to all the issues that are difficult
in our relationship, including boundary question."

"We will continue the process of engagement and continue
to deal with issues that concern us," he said on the stapled
visa issue.

Asked to spell out India`s "core issues," the NSA did not
specify but said these have been indicated by the two
countries to each other.

While on the Indian side, the "core issues" are Jammu and
Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh, on the Chinese side, these
relate to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

"This is an ongoing conversation. We will continue that
discussion as we lead up to Premier Wen Jiabao`s visit which I
am sure will be a successful and productive visit," Menon

The high-level defence exchanges, however, will remain
suspended, with Menon saying, "we will continue to work on the

The two leaders, while going through the entire range of
relationship taking the "larger strategic view," also
discussed the economic aspect of the ties in the backdrop of
concerns in India over the big trade imbalance in favour of

In his initial remarks at the meeting, Wen referred to
Singh`s oft-repeated statement that there is enough space in
the world for India and China to achieve common development.

While agreeing with it, he said, "on top of our remarks,
I add that there is enough space in the world for India and
China to have cooperation."

Noting that the two countries had "viewed and handled"
their bilateral relations with a "strong sense of history," he
said India and China have stayed in touch and worked together
to build a stable and steady growth in ties.

Wen said Singh had extended invitations to him a number
of times to visit India and "my preliminary information
indicates that I will pay a visit to your country by the end
of this year."

To make this visit a productive one, he suggested that
"we discuss and reach a consensus on some major aspects so as
to lay a foundation for the visit."

Responding to this, Singh noted that the two were meeting
for the 10th time in six years and welcomed Wen`s decision to
visit India.

"You are the architect of Strategic Cooperative
Partnership which both the countries signed during your first
visit to India in 2005. Our relations have evolved
satisfactorily. We are very satisfied with growth of trade and
economic relations between India and China," he told Wen.

On the boundary dispute, both the leaders said they
looked forward to early resolution of the issue and asked
their Special Representatives to deal with the subject with a
sense of urgency.

The Special Representatives will meet in Beijing by this
month-end for the 14th round of talks. The last meeting was
held in New Delhi in August last year.

"Both mentioned the need to carry the process forward
from Guiding Principles and Political Parameters signed in
2005. Both said they will ask Special Representatives to do so
with a sense of urgency," Menon said.

In the meantime, they agreed that pending the settlement,
the two countries will maintain peace and tranquility on the

"They have given new impetus to the process, between
Special Representatives and officials, to work through the
issues and have given clear direction on how they want this to
be handled," the NSA said.

From the Indian side, the delegation at the meeting
included Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Menon
and Secretary (East) in Ministry of External Affairs Latha