Kamal Nath's China trip cancelled
India has cancelled a high-level bilateral meeting for which Commerce Minister Kamal Nath was to travel to Beijing next week.india Updated: Mar 27, 2008 12:58 IST
India has cancelled a high-level bilateral meeting for which Commerce Minister Kamal Nath was to travel to Beijing next week, apparently to register its unhappiness over its Ambassador being summoned by the Chinese Foreign Ministry at odd hours.
Nath was to visit Beijing for the joint empowered group meeting on April two to review progress made on the negotiations for Regional Trade Agreement which the two countries had decided to put in place.
The cancellation of the visit, on the advice of the Ministry of External Affairs, is seen as a retaliation by India to the summoning of its Ambassador Nirupama Rao past midnight last Friday by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
She was summoned to convey China's concerns over storming of its Embassy by a group of Tibetan protestors here. However, Nath insisted his trip to China was cancelled due to problems with the dates.
"We have to cancel the trip for the time being, we will seek fresh dates," he said when asked about the cancellation of his visit. "My trip has not been called off because of any diplomatic reasons, my trip has been cancelled because of problems in dates," he said.
"Some dates were fixed, they were changed, again fixed and again changed. My trip has been called of because of my engagement here and because of engagement of the Chinese minister," Nath said.
The minister said India's trade with China continues to be healthy. "We are looking forward to achieving record level of trade with China in the current year."
Government has been silent on the Chinese action even as the BJP lashed out at it for adopting "a nationally-humiliating and pusillanimous policy full of indecision at the cost of neglecting the country's prestige".
After summoning the Indian envoy, China also raked up the issue of security for the Olympic torch when it passes through India, with a warning that the country could be by passed unless foolproof security for it was ensured.