Faced with negative headlines on the outcome of his talks with the Indian leadership, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was on Friday sharply critical of the Indian media, saying it was causing 'damage' to bilateral ties.
Winding up his three-day visit in Delhi, Wen told a group of editors and scholars before leaving for Pakistan that he understood that the press in India had freedom, but it should play a role in promoting friendship between the two nations.
Citing the Indian media's coverage of the situation on the Sino-Indian border, the Chinese leader said that 'not a single shot had been fired' nor had there been any 'exchanges in border areas' between the troops.
Still, the boundary question has 'repeatedly been sensationalised' by the media after which leaders of the two countries have had to 'repair the damage and harm', he said.
His advice to the media was that it should play a more active role in enhancing friendship. "A good neighbour is a blessing. We must be good neighbours," Wen emphasised.
Wen's talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday received negative coverage, with the media pointing out that India's key concerns on stapled visas to people from Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism emanating from Pakistan and its aspirations to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council had not been addressed.
Underlining the importance of media's role, Wen said that in his eight years as Premier, he had given only one interview to a foreign journalist, who was from India (PTI).
While answering questions, the Chinese Premier said it was undeniable that in the long history between the two countries there was 'a page of twists and turns', an apparent reference to the 1962 Sino-Indian war.
But that was a 'short page' and it was time the two countries 'turned over that page', he emphasised. Both India and China had gone through 'a lot of history' and surmounted 'a lot of difficulties'.
Both had great ethnic, cultural and religious diversities and therefore both have to be 'inclusive societies'.
Pointing out that India and China had jointly initiated the five principles of peaceful co-existence, Wen said that at the core of these principles was respect for each other.