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Wound of 1962 has healed: Kalam

By Pallab Bhattacharya in Singapore
February 03, 2006 00:41 IST
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Observing that the 'wound' of the 1962 conflict with China has 'healed', President A P J Abdul Kalam on Thursday said India's 'national aim' was the coming together of the two Asian powers.

Addressing a gathering of leading think tanks of Singapore on the penultimate day of his three-day visit to Singapore, the President also favoured a calibrated approach to formation of an Asian Economic Community on the pattern of European Union.

"China has ambition. They want to become a powerful nation of the world. We want to become a developed nation. Of course, in the sixties, we had a conflict with them. But that wound has healed," Kalam said.

He said, "Our national aim is coming together of these two powers. There is a lot of interaction taking place between the two countries, including in trade and culture."

Kalam favoured the idea of Asian Economic Union but said a step-by-step approach should be adopted.

He pointed out that European countries have put behind their earlier differences and formed a union.

Russia and the US, which have been at loggerheads for decades, are now at the peace table.

He said it was not only a question of India and China coming together in Asian Economic Union but linkages have to forged with all ASEAN countries.

The President's remarks assume significance in the wake of India seeking to carve a niche in South East and East Asia in the face of growing clout of China in the two regions.

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Pallab Bhattacharya in Singapore
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