India has strategic interest in better China ties: NSA Menon

NSA Shivshankar Menon has said that India has an "strategic interest" in better relations with China.

New Delhi: As the leaders of India and the US get ready to discuss the China challenge next week, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon Tuesday said that New Delhi has an "overriding strategic interest" in developing better relations with China, but asked Beijing to be sensitive to each other`s core concerns.

"As we face the big issues, we do this in a cooperative manner so that we can negotiate solutions to the problems. We have an overriding strategic interest in letting relations grow in a healthy manner," Menon said in response to a question on whether the China issue will figure in discussions during Obama`s visit.
"We also have sensitivities on issues like Tibet and Jammu and Kashmir," Menon said.

"We don`t see our relationship with the US having a bearing on our relationship with China or vice versa," he said, adding that there is "no zero sum game" among all major powers.

Strobe Talbott, a former deputy secretary of state, said China was a subject of "intense conversation" between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Hanoi last week.

The triangular relationship between India, the US and China will be a subject during presidential visit, said Talbott, who started preliminary talks with then foreign minister Jaswant Singh on nuclear issues after the 1998 nuclear tests.

"We need to talk to Beijing candidly about some of our concerns," he added.

Talbott, an influential foreign affairs analyst, stressed on the need for India and the US to build strong cooperative relationship with China.

"The US has profound interest in better relations with China and better relations between India and China. If India and China are not part of the solution (on issues like climate change), the problem is insoluble," he said.
China will be among a slew of global issues that will figure in discussions between Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their wide-ranging talks here Nov 8, said officials. Obama is likely to pitch for a bigger role for India in East Asia, a region Beijing has come to regard as its sphere of influence.