Beijing: In a significant step in taking
their bilateral relations to a new level, India and China
today signed an agreement to establish a hotline between Prime
Ministers of the two countries.
The agreement was signed by External Affairs Minister
S M Krishna and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi after
their first round of talks here.
This is the first time in recent years that India has
established a dedicated hotline facility with any country.
Under the agreement, dedicated phone lines will be set
up in the Prime Minister`s office of the two countries.
This would enable Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and
his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao to hold direct
conversations whenever they want.
The decision to establish the hotline was reached
during a meeting between Singh and Chinese President Hu Jintao
in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in June last year.
After the over an hour-long meeting, Krishna said the
establishment of hotline facility showed how close India and
China were with each other.
"This has been one of the highlights of my visit and
it is fitting that the two countries were able to do it during
the celebrations of 60th year of establishment of diplomatic
relations," he told reporters.
Asked whether the issue of stapled visas were taken up
during the meeting with Yang, Krishna said: "All issues
concerning bilateral ties were discussed."
The Minister said the discussions between him and Yang
were "purposeful and indeed satisfying."
"We want to have continued, sustained and cordial
relations with China. That has been one of the priorities of
India`s foreign policy. That purpose has been subserved by my
visit to Beijing," he said.
"We want to have cordial and friendly ties and lift
the bilateral relations to a new level of strategic
cooperation and partnership."
He said the trade between India and China will touch
USD 60 billion this year and the issue of trade deficit with
China is being discussed.