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Krishna on China visit

india Updated: Apr 05, 2010 11:58 IST
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External Affairs Minister SM Krishna will arrive in Beijing on Monday for "comprehensive" talks with the top Chinese leadership covering issues like issuance of stapled visas by Beijing and "illegal" construction in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Billed as a visit aimed at consolidation of the much improved Sino-Indian ties after last year's spat on Arunachal Pradesh, Krishna will have a hectic schedule for the next two days which include talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi followed by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

Besides attending a civic reception, he would formally kick off six-month-long celebrations to mark the 60th year of establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

While the two sides attach a great deal of importance on the substantive issues that would come for discussion, officials of both sides said that the tone and tenor of the dialogue would be based on common perception.

The general feeling in both the countries is that the tensions arising out of Chinese statements over Arunachal Pradesh, subsequent visit of Dalai Lama there, the adverse reports in the media in both the countries have not benefitted either of the countries, Indian officials in Beijing told PTI.

The entire gamut of bilateral issues will be taken up, including the boundary issue, "illegal" construction by Chinese companies in PoK and China issuing stapled visas to those hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, a Ministry of External Affairs spokesman said in New Delhi on yesterday.

India has been maintaining that any construction in PoK by China was "illegal". This has been conveyed to China at every level as it was a matter of "core concern" to the country, another Indian official said.

China regards Krishna's patient approach during last year's spat provided a "calming influence" on the bilateral ties during the 2009, Indian diplomats said in Beijing.

With the bilateral trade touching $60 billion and the two economies recovering from global recession, there is strong interest among both the governments not to see a repeat of the 2009 phase, they said.

The underlining sentiment in both countries ahead of Krishna's visit to Beijing is to take the relationship forward and ensure that the sentiment remained upbeat and positive, they said.

Also, though the trade between the two flourished, despite last year's dip, India is deeply concerned about mounting trade deficit.

In 2008, bilateral trade was estimated at $52 billion and in 2009, despite the global economic slowdown, at $44 billion. The first two months of 2010 have shown 55 per cent increase as compared to the previous year.