Beijing: National Security Adviser Shivshankar
Menon arrived here today as a Special Envoy of Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh for talks with top Chinese leaders on a host of
bilateral issues, including India`s concerns over Beijing`s
plans to build two nuclear reactors for Pakistan.
During the next two days, Menon is scheduled to meet
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, Foreign Minister Yang
Jiechi and influential State Councillor Dai Bingguo, who is
also the designated Chinese representative to discuss
Sino-India border issue, officials here said.
Officials attach a great deal of significance to Menon`s
upcoming talks with Wen and Yang, considering that the
protocol-conscious Chinese leadership prefer to meet leaders
of their matching ranks.
Equally important is the fact that Menon is visiting
China as Prime Minister Singh`s Special Envoy carrying with
him a wider mandate to discuss a host of issues with the top
Chinese leadership to set out a decisive direction for the
bilateral relationship to move ahead.
Officials on both sides said that the two countries have
been making conscious efforts to bring about lot of positivity
to the bilateral ties since early this year, culminating in
successful visit of President Pratibha Patil to China in May.
But China`s plans to build two 650 MW nuclear plants for
Pakistan without getting the clearance from the Nuclear
Suppliers Group (NSG) appeared to have pushed New Delhi on the
backfoot. China merely informed NSG last month of its plans to
build the nuclear reactors after signing a USD 2.5 billion
The visit of Menon, who arrived here ahead of Pakistan
President Asif Ali Zardari`s July 6-11 tour of China and weeks
after Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani`s trip, is
expected to provide valuable inputs on the Chinese thinking
over how Beijing wants to forge closer ties with India keeping
in mind New Delhi`s concerns over its "all weather
relationship" with Islamabad.