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'India comfortable with relationship with China'
January 12, 2008 01:53 IST
Amidst recent reports of Chinese intrusions, India has stated that there are differences of perception with China over certain areas along the Line of Actual Control. However, both countries are committed to maintaining peace and tranquility along the border.
"There are individual areas where we think there are activities and infrastructure development. We have ways of dealing with this and it has always been successful," Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told media persons during a briefing on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] maiden visit to Beijing [Images] beginning Sunday.
He was replying to questions about reports of Chinese incursions in Arunachal Pradesh in recent times.
"We have worked together to maintain peace and tranquility along the border... We do have areas where we have differences of perception. We do not see any change in the situation. The border is peaceful and has remained peaceful," he said.
Asked whether Chinese building the railways to Tibet was a matter of concern as Beijing could deploy troops in short notice, he said: "You have to accept the world will keep changing. We also do what we need to. As of now we are comfortable with the relationship with China. Both sides have conclusively demonstrated their will to maintain peace and tranquility on the border," he said, adding that both sides have the political will to settle the boundary dispute and they have expressed their determination to do so.
Dr Singh, who leaves on Saturday night for Beijing, will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao and call on President Hu Jintao during his three-day visit.
Menon said both India and China have agreed to maintain status quo pending settlement of the boundary question. Dr Singh, who would be fifth Indian prime minister to visit China, will have a 'full and substantive' programme, aimed at further consolidating the strategic, cooperative partnership.
After Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi visited Beijing in 1988, P V Narasimha Rao in 1993 and the last one was by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi [Images] had visited China in October last year.
Menon said the Prime Minister's talks with the Chinese leadership are expected to cover the entire range of bilateral issues besides regional and global issues of importance. He said there would be a meeting between Special Representatives M K Narayanan, National Security Adviser and Dai Bingguo, Senior Vice Foreign Minister on the boundary issue during the visit.
"It will not be a formal meeting. I do not want to prejudge anything," he said on being asked whether there would be any forward movement on the contentious issue.
"We have made steady progress during the discussion," he added.
Asked about the prospects of India having civil nuclear cooperation with China, Menon said, "We have worked together in the past in this area. We would hope to work with China like other countries when the way is clear."
India needs to firm up a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency and get the green signal from the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group for implementing the Indo-US nuclear deal.
"This visit is important as it comes after a series of events which have strengthened the strategic and cooperative partnership between the two countries," he said, while referring to several high level visits from both sides since last year.
"It is a testimony to the importance both sides attach to the relations," he said.
Noting that a high-level business delegation will also join the prime minister, Menon said that China is now the second largest trading partner with India. Bilateral trade has touched a whopping $37 billion last year. He said both countries had decided to establish tourist offices in Delhi and Beijing to encourage travel by people.