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Top Chinese official to visit India to repair strained ties

By K J M Varma
October 20, 2010 16:35 IST
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As China geared up to send a high-powered delegation to India to put the strained ties back on track, a state-run daily today cautioned that the two countries should be on guard against efforts by elements from within and outside to derail ties.

Zhou Yongkang, ranked ninth in the hierarchy of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), will be visiting New Delhi towards the end of this month to hold talks with top Indian officials, officials said in Beijing.

The visit by Zhou, member the influential Politburo Standing Committee in-charge of political, legal and legislative agenda, has set off speculation that China is making efforts to warm up to India and to repair the damage caused by a host of issues, especially the denial of visa to Lieutenant General B S Jaswal on the ground that he headed troops in Jammu and Kashmir, which China regards as disputed.

After the incident, India had put on hold all the defence exchanges between the two countries. Zhou's visit is more or less confirmed but the dates are under finalisation, an official here said. His visit is being seen as a precursor to the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in the next few months.

An article carried by the official China Daily, titled 'China, India made for each other' says both nations should be on guard against elements trying to foment problems. "Of course, there are still some unresolved differences between the two countries, from border disputes left over by history to competition in energy, resources and markets, and some trade frictions and investment limitations set by India on Chinese enterprises," the article written by Du Youkang, Director of the Centre for South Asian Studies at the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University said.

It said India has always harboured a grudge against China's "normal engagement" with other South Asian countries and noted that the 1962 border conflict that interrupted healthy development of bilateral relations, and that their mutual trust is still to be restored to the highest level. "Some ill-intentioned elements are making use of some or all of these problems to create trouble and confusion," it said.

"Now they need to step up vigilance, and guard against elements - inside as well as outside their countries - which try to create trouble and push bilateral relations off the tracks," it said. Diplomats here usually attach significance to write ups in the state media, especially on inter-state relations as they are presumed to have been cleared at the top of the Chinese government to send a subtle message.

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K J M Varma in Beijing
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