N-deal: Pranab parries query on Chinese support | india | Hindustan Times
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N-deal: Pranab parries query on Chinese support

Defence Minister parried questions on whether he sought Beijing's support for the N-deal during meetings with senior Chinese leaders.

india Updated: May 29, 2006 22:20 IST

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday parried questions on whether he sought Beijing's support for the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal during meetings with senior Chinese leaders.

"Let us see. Things are developing," Mukherjee told the Indian media at the end of the second day of his six-day official visit to China.

Mukherjee had lengthy meetings with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing as well as Chinese Defence Minister General Cao Gangchuan on Monday.

He is scheduled to call on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Gen Guo Boxiong on Tuesday.

China, a member of the 44-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) had critically questioned US efforts to push through the Indo-US civilian nuclear accord at the last meeting of the group in Vienna.

Quizzed whether he discussed the ties and continued Chinese arms supplies to Islamabad, Mukherjee merely said: "not in that way."

Asked whether he briefed the Chinese side about his just-concluded visit to Japan, with which Beijing has sour ties, the defence minister said: "nobody mentioned it."

"Why should I voluntarily say something?," he asked.

"Our foreign policy is independent and it has two very basic objectives: we have no territorial ambition nor we have any ambition to export our own ideology to others. Our basic foreign policy is to build up friendship with everybody," he said.

On the situation in Nepal, Mukherjee said it did not figure during Monday's talks.