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India, China talk friendship again

After a three-month-long war of words, Asian giants India and China agreed on Saturday they would not allow the differences between them to affect relations in future. Nagendar Sharma reports. Hindi-Chini: The great game

india Updated: Oct 25, 2009 01:47 IST
Nagendar Sharma

After a three-month-long war of words, Asian giants India and China agreed on Saturday they would not allow the differences between them to affect relations in future.

<b1>The much-awaited meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao lasted nearly an hour.

The controversial issue of India’s sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh and the planned visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to the border state in November, was not discussed during the meeting, highly placed Indian diplomats said.

Chinese news agency Xinhua, however, said Singh and Jiabao agreed to gradually narrow differences on border issues. The two sides agreed to continue talks, with the aim of incrementally removing the barriers to a solution that was fair and acceptable to both sides, Xinhua said.

The two leaders, who met after more than a year, warmly shook hands, and Singh told Wen: “I am excited to see you”. Wen in return congratulated the Indian Prime Minister on winning the elections again.

“Prime Minister Singh underscored the importance for both sides to build better understanding and trust at the political level so that the relations remain robust and strong,” said N. Ravi, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs. “Singh stressed that neither side should let our differences act as impediments to the growth of functional cooperation between the two countries.”

According to the Indian side, the Wen “concurred with PM Singh that issues may arise in the course of bilateral relations, but these should not be allowed to become an impediment in the development of friendly relations.”

Xinhua quoted Wen as saying: “We have reached an important consensus on promoting bilateral ties, and I believe the two countries could maintain a good relationship in future.”