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India waiting for Bush-Musharraf talks: Vajpayee
June 22, 2003 15:40 IST
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Sunday said India will await the outcome of the talks between Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and United States President George W Bush at Camp David on June 24.
"Our concerns are on cross-border terrorism, which should stop. Our friends (in the international community) have agreed with us on this score," Vajpayee told reporters at the airport shortly before emplaning for a six-day visit to China.
Asked about his expectations from the Musharraf-Bush talks, he said, "Let us see what emerges out of it and what measures follow."
To a question on China's close ties with Pakistan, the prime minister said that he had talked with Chinese President Hu Jintao in St Petersburg in Russia recently and he was looking forward to holding wide-ranging discussions with top Chinese leadership, including his counterpart Wen Jiabao.
Declaring that India accorded 'top priority' to its ties with China, Vajpayee said his government wanted to tackle the new challenges and move on the road to progress in cooperation with Beijing.
"I am confident that the visit would have a positive outcome. My message to China is that of friendship," Vajpayee, the first Indian prime minister to visit China in last 10 years, said.
On the vexed boundary dispute, Vajpayee said, "Talks have been taking place with China on this issue and we want to take them forward. While talks are taking place on the border question, we are also focusing on how to move ahead in other areas of our relationship with Beijing."
Observing that the two neighbours have developed a wide canvas of mutually beneficial co-operation, the prime minister said, "Particularly over the last few years, we have been developing and diversifying our relations, even while simultaneously addressing our differences."
Vajpayee had visited China as foreign minister in 1979 and later as a member of a parliamentary delegation in 1993.
Vajpayee said he believed that his discussions with the new Chinese leadership would help in building better understanding and trust between the two sides.
"There is a compelling geographical, political and economic logic for close relations between our two countries," the prime minister said.
"I hope to see for myself the remarkable economic transformation that China has undergone over the past decade," he said.
Besides Beijing, the prime minister will be visiting the industrial and commercial centre of Shanghai and the town of Luoyang, which has an ancient historical connection with India.
Vajpayee who left for Beijing in a special Air India flight was seen off at the airport by his deputy Lal Kishenchand Advani, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and several other ministers besides top civil and military officials.
Ahead of his visit, his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao told PTI that the Chinese government is pleased to have Vajpayee in Beijing.
"I look forward to an in-depth exchange of views with him on bilateral relations and on international and regional issues of mutual interest," Wen said.
"India is our important neighbour. Developing friendly and good-neighbourly relations and cooperation with India on the basis of the five principles of peaceful co-existence is a key part of our diplomacy with countries in our surrounding areas," he said.
Expressing happiness over the positive momentum in the development of bilateral relations in recent years, Wen stressed that maintaining stability and development in
China-India relations is not only in the fundamental interest of the two peoples but also conducive to peace and development in the region and the world at large.
"I am confident that Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit will have a positive impact on bilateral relations and regional peace and stability," the Chinese premier said.
Vajpayee is being accompanied by the External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley and a big delegation of CEOs from leading Indian companies.
Disinvestment, IT & Communications Minister Arun Shourie is expected to join Vajpayee in Shanghai.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will hold an official welcoming ceremony for Vajpayee on Monday at the Great Hall of the People. This would be followed by official talks between the two leaders following which the two sides are expected to sign a series of agreements.
India and China are expected to sign six to seven agreements to build cultural centres in Beijing and New Delhi and signing pacts on easy visas, consular cooperation, education and science and technology.
An agreement on promoting trade and investment protection is also being readied, which would go a long way to further boost bilateral trade ties, which currently stands at a record US $4.94 billion.
During January-April period of this year, Sino-Indian trade has zoomed by 70.8 per cent to US $2.31 billion.
On Monday afternoon, Vajpayee will visit Beijing University and open the India Study Centre. Later, Vajpayee will lay the foundation of the new chancery of the Indian Embassy.
In the evening, Premier Wen will hold an official banquet for Vajpayee at the Great Hall of the People.
On the second day of his visit, Vajpayee will meet with the chairman of the Central Military Commission, Jiang Zemin, who till March was the Chinese president.
Vajpayee will tour the forbidden city, a major tourist site in Beijing. Later he will address a major business meeting that will be attended by captains of the Indian and Chinese industries.
Vajpayee will call on Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday.
Vajpayee will also have separate meetings with Chinese Vice-President Zeng Qinghong as well as the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's Parliament.
On June 25, Vajpayee will leave for the historic central Chinese city of Luoyang, which was once China's capital. He will tour the city and visit some of the famous Buddhist sites.
The same day, the prime minister will reach Shanghai, which is China's largest city as well as the country's industrial and commercial hub.
Apart from touring the booming Pudong development zone, Vajpayee will address a Information Technology seminar organised by NASSCOM. Later, he is expected to meet with senior Communist Party and government leaders of Shanghai.
He will return to India on June 27 from Shanghai.