New Delhi intends to seal a new border defence agreement with Beijing to set tighter ground rules for the armed forces along the border during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s five-day two-nation visit to Russia and China beginning this weekend.
In Russia, with which it shares a “rock-solid” relationship, India hopes to coincide Singh’s visit with the finalisation of contracts to set up the third and fourth units of the Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu.
“We hope to conclude specific contracts in the near future. The companies are discussing issues — technical, legal and financial,” foreign secretary Sujatha Singh said, reluctant to commit to a deadline due to concerns among Russian companies about the unlimited liability clause in the Indian law.
The border defence agreement with China — that also requires both sides to agree not to tail each other’s patrol — would discourage face-offs of the kind witnessed in J&K’s Depsang Valley earlier this year when Chinese troops pitched tents inside Indian territory.
This would be the first time that premiers of the two neighbouring countries travel to each other’s country in the same year and would lead to cementing the evolving strategic partnership between the two sides.
Moving beyond meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and premier Li Keqiang, Singh would also have an opportunity to address China’s Communist Party’s Central School, the higher education institution that trains officials for the ruling party.