A week after the US endorsed a permanent seat for India on the UN Security Council, India raised the issue of its bid with China in 70-minute bilateral talks on Sunday. China did not spell out direct support for India's bid but Chinese willingness for 'closer consultations' on the issue was seen as a positive signal.
The talks held on the sidelines of a Russia, India and China summit in the central Chinese city of Wuhan were a key step to prepare for Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India next month. China said it hoped to expand political consensus with India when Wen visits.
External affairs minister SM Krishna told Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi of 'overwhelming support' for India's bid and the need for UN members to focus intensively on the issue. Following US endorsement of India's candidature, China remains the only permanent UNSC member that has not backed India's bid.
Yang repeated Beijing's official statement about understanding India's 'desire' for a bigger role in the UN. However, Yang also added China recognises that there had been fundamental changes in the world situation and that UNSC reforms need 'active consideration.'
"China is willing to have 'closer consultations' with India on the issue of UN reform, which is incrementally speaking a positive indicator," said foreign secretary Nirupama Rao after the meeting. "They are alert to this issue and increasingly focus on it," said Rao.
There was no breakthrough in resolving the stapled visa dispute but China said it hoped to expand political consensus with India when Wen visits.
India once again asked for mutual sensitivity on core concerns and raised objections to Chinese stapled visas for Jammu and Kashmir residents.
Yang replied that the Chinese policy on Kashmir had not altered, and that China always held the view that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through dialogue between India and Pakistan.
Sunday's talks were the first of a series of high-level dialogue with Beijing this month. Rao will hold the fourth strategic dialogue with her Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun in Beijing on Tuesday. National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon will travel to Beijing later this month for the 14th round of boundary dispute negotiations with state councillor Dai Bingguo, Chinese special representative on the talks. Yang accepted Krishna's invitation to visit India early next year.