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China, India may conclude confidence building military treaty

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi

Despite billing it as important and substantive, Foreign Secretary Salman Haider and senior officials at the ministry of external affairs divulged scarce information on the first-ever visit of Chinese President Jiang Zemin to India from November 28 to December 1.

Apart from furnishing details regarding the composition of the Chinese delegation and the Indian dignitaries whom President Jiang and his colleagues will meet during their stay in New Delhi, Haider, Indian Ambassador to Beijing Vijayan Nambiar and Secretary (east) in the MEA T C A Rangachari chose to divulge precious little.

Asked by a reporter to comment on Sino-Pakistani nuclear co-operation, Haider said, ''we do not know what kind of nuclear assistance is being given by China to Pakistan," adding that the issue is not likely to figure during the talks with the Chinese delegation. However, he hinted that the matter could crop up during discussions on regional peace.

While emphasising that an agreement is likely to be concluded between India and China on confidence-building measures along the Line of Control, Haidar told a reporter that he did not agree with the latter's observation that the line of demarcation along the border was not clear and it had taken a 'back-seat'.

Referring to the border issue with China, Haider pointed out that President Jiang's visit is being seen as an effort to evolve a co-operative relationship about making the India-China border a zone of peace. He also did not agree with the reporter that no headway had been made on the border issue, saying ''we have been able to bring about a regime of peace and tranquility'' in the border zone.

Haider asserted that the progress in this context was ''systematic'', if not ''dramatic'' and reasonable.

Other agreements likely to be signed between the two countries is the maintenance of an Indian consulate in Hong Kong after China takes over the city in July 1997, an agreement on crime and drug-trafficking, bilateral investment protection agreement and shipping.

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