'India, China can reduce mistrust with faith in each other'



Beijing: Ahead of Premier Li Keqiang's visit to India on Sunday, Chinese media on Saturday said it is difficult for the two nations to restore mutual trust without resolving border dispute though mistrust could gradually be reduced with good faith in each other's strategic intentions.

"To be honest, the two nations cannot fully restore mutual trust without resolving the border dispute, a complex issue that might linger for a while," a commentary by the state-run Xinhua news agency on Li's visit said on Saturday.

"However, the level of mistrust could be gradually reduced with good faith in each other's strategic intentions," it said.

"China adheres to the five principles of peaceful coexistence in its foreign policy, and has never sought to enhance ties with any other country at the expense of its relationship with India," it said.

As Li embarks on his three day visit to break new ground amid recent border stand off, analysts here said his fence mending visit with initiatives to boost trade ties could also focus on the need for settlement of border dispute.

In its commentary, Xinhua said Li made India the first stop of his first foreign tour to send a clear signal that Beijing's new leadership prioritises enhancing ties with New Delhi despite border spats and other disputes.

"The rationale is simple: With China and India being the world's two largest developing countries and most populous nations -- accounting for about 40 per cent of the global population, a sour and bitter relationship would serve the interests of neither side," it said.

Referring to recent meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Durban, Xinhua praised the two countries handling of the border stand off at the Depsang valley near Ladakh.

"Over the years, bilateral relations have withstood a host of tests, including the latest border spat. But the swift cooling-down once again shows that both nations are looking at the big picture of their ties, instead of being carried away by incidental matters," it said.

"It is obvious that both sides want fewer hostilities and confrontations in their neighbourhood and, with their primary focus on national development, need to seize the strategic growth opportunities facing them," it said.

It also hit out at the western countries for sowing discard between the two countries.

"Those in the West who tend to see China-India ties through a prism of territorial disputes and inter-power rivalry must have forgotten the fact that their border problem is largely a legacy of Western colonialism. In the thousands of years before that, the two old civilisations rarely quarrelled for territorial issues," it said.

"The China-India relationship is more about the future than about the past. It is with such a forward-looking mind that China's new leadership has decided to take new initiatives to further deepen bilateral ties and mutual trust. Li's upcoming trip will be a crucial step in that direction," it said.

"Through the joint efforts of both sides, Sino-Indian relations will surely overcome difficulties and move forward. Premier Li Keqiang's visit to India is a significant and positive thing in the Sino-Indian relations, and will open a new chapter in Sino-Indian relations," the Peoples Daily commentary said.

China-India interaction is gaining global prominence at a time when many in the world turn to the two leading emerging economies for hints of confidence in the post-crisis recovery process.

"That attention comes with a responsibility for the two giant neighbours to lay aside their differences and expand collaboration toward building a new type of inter-power relations that benefit the two nations, the region and the world at large," Xinhua said.

Another commentary in the ruling Communist Party of China's news paper People?s Daily refuted perception that China plans to surround India with string ports in the neighbouring countries.

"China does not have the strategic intent to contain India, nor strategic plan to surround it, and there are no such things as 'string of pearls' that China is planning to build against India in the Indian Ocean," the commentary said.

"China has legitimate interest in the Indian Ocean, and India also has legitimate interest in the Pacific," where China too has problems with neighbours over South China Sea disputes.

"These are not in contradiction with each other. Development of relations between China and India does not exclude a third party. With increasingly diverse national interests, different countries may have different opinions in one field, and cooperate with each other in another field, and these are very normal.

"People cannot say two countries are containing each other just because there are differences between them," it said.

PTI