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Rediff News  All News  » News » PM leaves for Russia, China; border talks, global issues to top agenda

PM leaves for Russia, China; border talks, global issues to top agenda

October 20, 2013 11:44 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday left for a five-day visit to Russia and China. 

In the high-level summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, PM Singh will discuss on turbulence in West Asia and Afghanistan situation, among other issues.

Before his departure PM Singh said, “I will convey to President Putin our interest in deepening our consultations and coordinations on international issues”.

PM Singh will visit Beijing for high-level bilateral talks on Wednesday. He said that in his nine years of tenure he has worked closely with the Chinese leadership to establish a strategic and cooperative partnership.

The PM also said that both the countries have made “preliminary progress towards settlement of the India-China boundary question”.

He noted that peaceful and friendly relations have given both the countries “a wider region to grow with stability”.

The PM also noted that “there are historical issues and there are areas of concerns”, adding that “both the governments are handling them with maturity, without letting them affect the overall atmosphere of friendship and cooperation”.

The border issue, which has been dominating debate in India, will be taken up by the PM when he talks to the Chinese leadership. PM’s statement at the time of departure said, “I will be discussing some of these issues as part of strategic communication between leaders with a forward looking and problem solving approach”.

Officials on both sides are working on a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement to avoid face-off between their armies against the backdrop of a prolonged intrusion by People's Liberation Army troops in the Depsang Valley in Ladakh during this summer.

There are indications that the agreement may be signed during the visit.

On Wednesday, after discussion and lunch with the Chinese Premier, Prime Minister Singh will be hosted a dinner by President Xi Jinping, a rare honour for an Indian leader.

As the world's two most populous nations and largest emerging economies, India and China today have a growing congruence of regional, global and economic interests, driven by respective developmental aspirations and shaped by the evolving strategic environment, Singh said.

During the visit, the prime minister will discuss with Chinese interlocutors ways and means to consolidate common strategic interests.

"I will also be sharing my thoughts on India-China dynamics in the new era with the future leaders of China through an address at the Central Party School in Beijing," Singh said.

He said the Beijing visit will provide an opportunity to continue discussions with the new leadership of China that took over earlier this year and return Premier Li's visit to India in May on his first overseas trip as the head of the new Chinese government.

Referring to his visit to Russia from Sunday, he said the annual summit with the country, which has been held since 2000, is an important feature of the special and privileged strategic partnership.

Singh will be participating in the 14th annual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, his fifth in Moscow.

"The scope of our relationship with Russia is unique, encompassing strong and growing cooperation in areas such as defence, nuclear energy, science and technology, hydrocarbons, trade and investment, and people-to-people exchanges," Singh said.

"I will convey to President Putin the importance we attach to our relations with Russia, and I will use this visit to strengthen our partnership in every possible way," the Prime Minister said.

Noting that India and Russia have always had a convergence of views on global and regional issues, Singh said India values Russia's perspective on international developments of mutual interest.

He said that he was looking forward to exchanging views with President Putin on a broad range of international developments, including the conflict and turbulence in West Asia as also closer to India, particularly in Afghanistan.

After talks and a working lunch with the Russian president on October 21, the Prime Minister will be conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

"I am honoured at this gesture, which is also testimony to the relations between our two countries," Singh said on the doctorate he will be conferred with during his visit.

On his two-nation tour, Singh said, "I am confident that my visit will strengthen our relations with two of our most important partners and create new strategic opportunities for India's growth, prosperity and development in a stable external environment."

With inputs from PTI

Photograph: Danish Siddique/Reuters

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi