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India, China set for political exchange

The stage has been set for a series of political-level engagements with China, even though defence exchanges remain on hold.

delhi Updated: Oct 22, 2010 23:32 IST
Jayanth Jacob

The stage has been set for a series of political-level engagements with China, even though defence exchanges remain on hold.

PM Manmohan Singh will be meeting his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao in Hanoi,

Vietnam on the sidelines of the East Asia summit, likely on October 30.

However, sources said that this meeting was firmed up recently, after the Dalai Lama PhD issue. The external affairs ministry also had reservations on the timing of this issue considering the sensitivity involved in the matter.

After the PM-Premier meet, External Affairs minister S.M. Krishna will be visiting Wuhan, China to attend the trilateral foreign ministers’ meet comprising India, China and Russia. Krishna will also meet Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on the sidelines of the meet during the November 14-15 trip.

Also in the works is the visit of Zhou Yongkang, an important member of the politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, to India. China had postponed his visit to India last November in the wake of the Dalai Lama visiting Arunanchal Pradesh.

Government sources said that New Delhi is keen on gauging whether the Chinese have changed their position on issues relating to Kashmir.

What’s worrying New Delhi is China’s position on Kashmir, including issuing stapled visas to the residents of that state as well as aiding of projects in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

While the official Chinese position is that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through talks between India and Pakistan, Chinese actions, much to India’s disappointment, show they agree with Pakistan’s position.

Whether the issue of stapled visa will figure in talks between Singh and Wen Jiabao, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters “China and India are important Asian countries. When the leaders of the two large neighbours meet, they discuss all issues.”