President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday indicated that she will seek China's support for India's bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council during her six-day visit to the country, the first by an Indian head of state in a decade.
"I think so," she told journalists accompanying her, when asked if the issue of India's bid for a permanent UNSC seat will figure during her meeting with the Chinese leadership.
She also said "we hope that India will be considered" for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.
China, which is one of the five veto-wielding members of the powerful UN Security Council along with the US, UK, Russia and France, has been saying that it supports India's aspirations to play an important role at the UN, but wants an overall reform of the world body. It has also not backed Japan, the other Asian contender for a permanent UNSC seat.
Earlier last month, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna during a visit sought China's backing for a permanent UNSC seat for India, asking it to review its policies on UN reforms to welcome its neighbour to the core group of the world body.
Patil, who arrived in Beijing on her first visit to China, is set to hold discussions with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other senior Chinese leaders including Chairman of the National People's Congress Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and Chairman of the Chinese People's Consultative Conference Jia Qinglin.
Noting that India attaches "great importance" to its relations with China, the President said both countries acknowledge that their partnership transcends the purely bilateral ties and has global implications.
"This understanding and awareness is the basis for our cooperation on international matter," Patil said.
Asked if the recent misgivings, including issuance of stapled visas to Kashmiris by China and its support to Pakistan in setting up nuclear reactors, will have any impact on bilateral ties, she said, "We are progressing on a friendly path...
"Both countries agree that we have a future together. There is enough space in the world for both the countries to fulfil their aspirations for development."
On Women's Reservation Bill
Patil on Wednesday favoured passage of the controversial Women's Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha. "My desire is it should be passed," she told reporters accompanying her on a six-day visit to China when asked whether she would like the Bill to be passed in the Lok Sabha.
The Bill, which seeks to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on March nine after forcible eviction of seven members vociferously opposing it.
The landmark bill was debated and voted upon a day after it was moved for consideration but could not be taken up as some members created unprecedented pandemonium and even tried to attack Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.
The bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha after marshals were used to remove the seven members who stayed put even after they were suspended from the House for unruly behaviour.
The government had convened a meeting with leaders of various parties in the Lok Sabha on April 5 to sort out differences over the contentious bill. However, there was no significant change in the stated positions of various parties.
Given the sharp political divisions, government had not brought the bill in the Lok Sabha apparently with a desire to get the financial agenda through in Parliament first.
Parties like SP, RJD and JD-U have been demanding a sub-quota for Dalit women in the bill.