Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday began talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on all crucial bilateral issues within hours of his arrival in New Delhi when he affirmed that his visit will "inject new vigour" into bilateral ties and strengthen mutual trust.
57-year-old Li, accompanied by a senior-level delegation comprising government officials and businessmen, arrived around 3 pm on a three-day-visit and was received by Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed and senior ministry officials including Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai.
In a written statement issued upon his arrival, Li said it serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and their people and is a blessing to Asia and the world at large that China and India coexist peacefully, maintain friendly relations and work together to realise national rejuvenation.
He also said China regarded India as an important partner and friend, adding, "I am looking forward to exchanging views with Indian leaders on bilateral ties and regional and global issues of common concern."
Li also expressed confidence that his visit would strengthen mutual trust, deepen cooperation, expand common interests and consolidate bilateral friendship, which would inject new vigour into the China-India strategic and cooperative partnership designed for peace and prosperity.
Meanwhile, sources said Sunday’s restricted meeting will only discuss issues of "major concerns". Among other matters, India will convey its concern over recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh region and stress that the Special Representatives of India and China, who are scheduled to meet in next few months, take it up in detail to avoid such occurrences in future.
India has been pressing for clarification and confirmation on Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas pending the final settlement.
"Everything is on the table," Joint Secretary (East Asia) Gautam Bambawale said when asked about the issues to be discussed between the leaders of the two countries, which are witnessing differences on various crucial matters including boundary, waters and on market access under economic ties.
"The two prime ministers would talk about these subjects. Since it (incursion) being the recent occurrence (will be discussed)," he said.
Talks on trans-border rivers, especially India's concern over Chinese constructing three additional dams on Brahmaputra river are also expected to figure in the restricted talks.
Image: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang waves upon his arrival as Union Minister E Ahmed watches at the airport in New Delhi.
Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters