Guwahati, Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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Singh, Jiabao discuss border issue
Kalyan Barooah
 PHNOM PENH, Nov 19 – With a new leadership in China taking over soon, India is rushing National Security Adviser (NSA), Shiv Shankar Menon to Beijing shortly to meet his outgoing Chinese counterpart, state councillor Dai Bingguo for the 16th round of boundary dialogue.

The vexed boundary problem figured at a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao held here this morning. Both the leaders are in Cambodia to take part in the ASEAN Summit and Seventh East Asia Summit.

The meeting today was also attended by Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma, the NSA, besides Foreign Secretary, Ranjan Mathai. The Chinese delegation included its Foreign Minister and Commerce Minister, besides top officials.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the Foreign Secretary said that though dates for dialogue are yet to be finalised, it is expected to take place after the strategic economic meeting scheduled later this month.

“Yes, the prospect of the NSA visiting Beijing very soon was mentioned by the Chinese Prime Minister. He mentioned it in the context of the ongoing dialogue between the two countries and immediately after the strategic economic dialogue by the end of November. The dates are being finalised,” he said.

The issue of setting up of hotlines between the two Prime Ministers did not figure in the discussion, the Foreign Secretary added.

On the boundary question, India and China have continued with active dialogue between the Special Representatives (SRs), Wen Jiabao was quoted as having said.

Even though the dialogue has not resolved all the differences, the two countries have set in place a joint mechanism to ensure peace and tranquillity on the border, the Foreign Secretary said, quoting the Chinese Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Wen Jiabao’s remarks appeared like a farewell speech, as he was meeting Dr Singh for the last time, before he hands over charge next year.

In his nostalgic opening remark, Wen said that in the last eight years, this was his 14th meeting with Dr Singh and he was happy that they have been able to develop a system of working together. It is probably the last time he is meeting the Indian Prime Minister.

He said reflecting on these eight years and what has been done, the two countries have built up strategic and cooperative partnership.

In terms of trade ties, India and China have rapidly built up. He also referred to people-to-people contacts and said overall these important achievements in bilateral relations have brought benefits to people and added to global peace and prosperity. It was a memorable experience to work with Dr Singh.

The new leadership of China would lay great importance on the relationship with India as it is recognised to work together with New Delhi.

“There is enough space for India and China to develop and side by side we can expand cooperation and build new areas of cooperation,” Prime Minister Wen Jiabao further mentioned.

The Prime Minister also endorsed the views expressed by Wen Jiabao. He noted that over the last one year, the Foreign Ministers of the two countries have met four times. The bilateral meetings were part of an elaborate architecture in existence between the two countries. India and China would be having strategic economic dialogue at the end of November.

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