India keen to reciprocate Xi`s desire to improve ties

Last Updated: Monday, March 25, 2013 - 21:18

Durban: Ahead of the first meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese President Xi Jinping, India on Monday sent clear signals of reciprocating China`s new leadership`s desire to improve ties without it being held hostage by problems like the boundary issue.

Official sources said today that India will not allow the bilateral ties to be held hostage by differences on the boundary issue, echoing the views of new President Xi last week.

"We think we can be positive. We talk to each other about mutual concerns. We have managed to show that despite differences, China is India`s single largest bilateral trade partner and are sure we have the ability to work together," they said.

They point out to the fact that the two countries last year decided to have a military dialogue. The two sides have also decided not to hurt each other`s interests in the region.

Xi had last week propounded five proposals for improving bilateral ties with India. These included keeping aside differences on various issues while improving mutual ties and accommodation of each other`s concerns while dealing with "core interests".

He had also suggested that peace and tranquility should be maintained on the boundary pending settlement of the issue.

Singh will be meeting Xi here on March 27 on the sidelines of the BRICS summit.

Asked about the Chinese leadership using new phrases like "core interests", the sources said India`s core interests in the relationship were open and transparent.

"Let them have a conversation. We don`t have to pre-judge. We will analyse before we come out with a balance sheet of mutual concerns," they said.

On Xi`s statement that the boundary question would not be easy to resolve, the sources said India had always held that solution will take time.

"We never said it is going to be solved easily," the officials said.

India always felt that the two countries should get on
with improvement in rest of the areas like trade and build on positive areas.

"Don`t make relations hostage to one issue (boundary)," they said.

The officials said the signals for India from the new Chinese leadership have been positive, including the various contacts New Delhi had with Beijing since when the leadership change process began.

National Security Advisor Shivshakar Menon went to Beijing in December and the Chinese president had written to Singh. The new Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had also spoken to Singh.

"India-China relations are highly important and we want to carry it forward. We think we can be very positive," the officials said.

On the upcoming meeting Between Singh and Xi, the officials said it is expected to provide an impetus to bilateral relationship besides being a platform to take stock of things and go forward in the relationship.

They said some of the issues with China were there for over 20 years. This included Chinese investment in Gwadar port in Pakistan or building of dams on Brahmaputra river and the building Of Chinese nuclear reactors in Chashma power project in Pakistan.

The officials said in keeping with the recent practice of discussing global issues, the BRICS summit may go over the Syrian situation in Durban.

On issues with Bangladesh, officials said government wants to get the Constitution amendment on devolution of border areas to the neighbour under an agreement.

To questions about India`s role in Afghanistan after withdrawal of US troops, the officials said India has huge stake and role in Afghanistan even in Americans` presence or absence.

Likewise, the Indian role there was also independent of the ties with Pakistan.

PTI



First Published: Monday, March 25, 2013 - 21:17

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