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India calls for steps to avoid incidents like Ladakh incursion

May 10, 2013 22:54 IST

India raised its concern with China's new Premier Li Keqiang over recent incursion by the People's Liberation Army troops in the Ladakh region, calling for steps to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid flagged India's concern over the incident to Li when he called on him.

"I brought up the border matter. I wanted endorsement from their side to what we were hoping would be (the) way in which to ensure to the best of our ability as much as humanly possible that such episodes do not recur," he told reporters.

Chinese troops intruded 19 kms into Indian territory in Daulat Beig Oldi sector in the DepsangValley on April 15, triggering a row. The three-week stand off ended on May 5 when Chinese troops withdrew to their original position.

"We put a lid on it so that we can talk about all the positive things we are working on. The positives (in continuing the bilateral relations) are far reaching meaningful, rewarding for both of us as they have tremendous potential," Khurshid said in response to a question.

Earlier, the India-China joint mechanism on border coordination met here to review the recent stand off.

The border mechanism headed by Gautam Bambawale, Joint Secretary East of the external affairs ministry and his Chinese counterpart met for the first time to review the Depsang valley incident and steps to be taken to ensure that it was not repeated.

A military delegation from India also joined the talks, officials said.

Replying to a question whether what took place at Daulat Beig Oldi was an incursion, Khurshid said, "It was reflection of our differing perceptions about Line of Actual Control. The view that we took the place where the tents were fixed by the Chinese platoon is a view that in the resolution was accepted and they returned from there."

"It is not a view we accepted by saying ok you remain there. If we continue to talking about it would appear as though problem may not have been solved," Khurshid said.

"Therefore without running from the incident," as all facts are available transparently, the two sides resolved the issue, he said.

"The stand off at the Daulat Beig Oldi was resolved due to the joint mechanism which was put to use to the successful conclusion," he said.

"In my meetings today I requested that each one of us has some take away in the manner in which mechanism was put to use to come to this successful conclusion. In that take away is there something that we can figure to ensure that such an episode does not happen again," Khurshid said.

"I requested that we could both do this exercise. I must say this was received very positively, very well," he said.

The Chinese side is looking forward to 16th round of Special Representative talks to take place.

"There is tremendous satisfaction on Chinese side about the forward movement the past 15 rounds have achieved," he said.

Besides meeting Li, Khurshid also met State Councillor and China's new Special Representative for border talks Yang Jiechi who was expected to hold the next round with his Indian counterpart National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.

"We shared a view that it was done in a mature, sensible and reasonable way using the mechanism we have in place. That clearly is our position that anything of this nature or the larger issue not of having settled the border issue should not stand in the way of exercising our opportunity of working together in vast number of fields highlighted," Khurshid said.

"We are on the same page on this. We agree on this except that I added that an exercise should be done by both sides to check out systems to ensure that this does not happen again. We are speaking as openly without any self consciousness without any sense of constrains imposed by formality.

Openness, friendliness and candour were all too obvious," he said.

Khurshid said that much of his talks with Li, whom he described as "bright, hands on, very quick to pick up any new idea", focussed on the Chinese Premier's visit to India.

Asked why Li chose India as destination for his first visit abroad after taking over as Premier, Khurshid said, "why he wants to India first? He is very clear. He puts India in that position".

Khurshid praised Li's assessment both in terms of "our potential, in terms of our shared destiny, responsibilities also the enormous potential of growth through economic collaboration in cooperation between the China and India and using the word natural partners."

The decision to visit India was taken after careful thought which means that it is not just casual decision, Khurshid said. "That gives very good signal," he said.

"He exudes special warmth. Certainly I found him extremely positive on India and really looking forward to something significant between us," he said.

Welcoming Khurshid, Li recalled that he received Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's message of sympathy for the victims of recent earthquake in Sichuan province when he was directing relief operations.

"I would like to take this opportunity to again express our appreciation for that," he said.

China and India are the world's most populous counties and largest emerging economies.

Their simultaneous development has strategic significance not only for the region but for the whole world, he said.

"Put another way, without the simultaneous development of China and India there wont be prosperity in Asia," he said.

"The healthy and steady development of our bilateral relationship is very good news not just for our own peoples but also for peace and stability in the region and in the world," he said.

"I look forward to meeting with Prime Minister Singh in New Delhi pretty soon. I am sure your visit this time will play an important and active role in boosting our bilateral relationship and enabling the Prime Minister and I to work together and enhance the future of our relations," said Li, who is due to visit India from May 19 to 21.

On his part, Khurshid told Li, "I consider this to be a unique opportunity and honour to be here, and personally meet you. With intense anticipation the Prime Minister and all our colleagues and people are waiting to receive you as a very special guest".

In his media interaction, Khurshid said the current discussions are focused wish lists of both the countries about 16 areas where both sides are looking for agreements, including finalising a joint statement with significant inputs.

Li said China-India relations have strategic significance and global impact, as both countries are large developing countries and emerging markets.

Li also highlighted the importance that the new Chinese government has placed on developing ties with India, saying China would like to enhance political trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation, strengthen people-to-people understanding and expand communication on international and regional issues so as to develop their strategic partnership.

"Friendly cooperation is central to China-India relations and common interests outweigh differences," Li was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Li urged the two countries to cherish their ties, be more progressive in expanding cooperation and inject new vitality into the economies of Asia and the world.

China would like to negotiate with India to settle border issues and create favorable conditions for bilateral cooperation and development, Li said.

Kurshid, who also held talks with his counterpart Wang Yi, wrapped up his visit attending a cultural reception at the Indian Embassy here which was attended by several others.

K J M Varma in Beijing
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