In light of China’s recent incursion into Ladakh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday conveyed to his visiting counterpart Li Keqiang that “peace and tranquility” on the border is the “foundation” of the bilateral ties and any disruption will impact the relationship.
Sources described Singh’s tough talk on the border row as “cordial and constructive”.
In the course of the hour-long meeting, Singh also made a pitch for the neighbour to share more information about its activities concerning trans-border rivers even as China plans to build three more dams on the Brahmaputra.
The PM said India is committed to meeting by 2015 the bilateral trade target of $100 billion set by the two countries. But he flagged concerns about the growing trade imbalance and sought greater market access in China for Indian products.
The Chinese side raised the issues of Tibet and the anti-China political activities that Dalai Lama, based out of India, allegedly indulges in.
Singh, however, said that the Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader, an honoured guest, and India will not allow its soil to be used for anti-China activities. The two leaders also spoke on a range of global economic issues.
Li arrived in India on Sunday for a three-day visit and was received by minister of state for external affairs E Ahamed, foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai and other officials at the airport. Li fondly recalled his last visit to the country 27 years ago.
After the meeting, Singh hosted a dinner for Li where the premier opted for vegetarian food. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and external affairs minister Salman Khurshid were among those who attended the dinner at the PM's residence.