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China more of a major concern than Pakistan: Khurshid

December 16, 2012 20:22 IST

India on Sunday said China was more of a major concern than Pakistan given the power the Asian giant has to impact the country in various spheres.

Noting that China was necessarily more important in terms of India's global vision and the ties between the two countries could impact the whole region, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said as far as Pakistan was concerned, the impact was "more pacific".

He was replying to queries about which was a bigger challenge for India -- the territorial dispute with China or the trust deficit with Pakistan.

"China is necessarily more important in terms of our global vision, in terms of economics, in terms of stability and impact of the stability that our friendship and understanding can have on Asia and South Asia. As far as Pakistan is concerned, it is more pacific," he said.

"China is part of a larger picture. Pakistan is part of that picture, a significant part and can ruin that picture if it does not have the right colour. But it is a much larger canvas in the picture we are dealing with as far as China is concerned. China we engage multilaterally everywhere. China can be a very important partner in Asia and Africa and elsewhere. China will play a significant role in what we want to do in the United Nations," said the minister, who was on his way back from Myanmar after a three-day visit.

He further said, "China is also a constant reminder to us that we got to put our economy at the right track. We can pretend that China is not there. But China is there and unless we put our economy on the right track, it is going to overwhelm us completely.

"So China is a major concern and Pakistan, in a significant way (is a concern) but not a major concern," he said.

"Because Pakistan has the ability to ruin the game for us therefore we have to keep Pakistan also in focus," the minister said.

"There are linkages also between China and Pakistan and that is important. But the linkages again is a less important dimension," Khurshid said.

Asked about the 'pinpricks' China keeps giving to India on the territory issue, he said, "I really wish they do not happen but they do happen."

"We have learnt to live with them. We have learnt to manage them. We have learnt to control them. But today these are not restricted to what is our real problem -- the issue of the border. Today they are coming elsewhere in a multilateral situation. We don't want to be drawn into any dispute vis-a-vis China because we want to look at the positive as far as possible," the minister said.

He said India should engage with China and grow with China, as was decided in 1988 during late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's visit to Beijing, and added that India was receiving signals from China that the emerging young leadership also wanted to go on the same path.

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