India and China have "vast differences" over the boundary issue which cannot be resolved in short duration with "easy fixes", Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has said, while asserting that it is not a "primary obstacle" in normalisation of bilateral ties.
Rao said the path of confrontation would not ease the "vast differences" India and China have on the issue.
"The complicated history of the outstanding boundary question entails that discussions to resolve it cannot be of short duration with easy fixes," she said.
She said that both countries have not allowed the border issue to become a "primary obstacle" in terms of normalisation of relations.
"The reality is that India and China have worked hard over the last two decades to deepen dialogue and bilateral relations in a number of fields. Peace and tranquility have prevailed in the India-China border areas despite the unsettled boundary question," Rao said, delivering the Harish Mahindra memorial lecture at Harvard.
India's relationship with China should not be seen as being only competitive but needs to be handled in a rationale and "cool-headed" manner, she said.
"Relationship with China, our large neighbour, has to be transacted in a very rationale, cool-headed and hard-nosed, not hard-lined (manner). Being hard-nosed is not (being) hard-lined. We can deal with this relationship. There is increasing confidence. This is the new India which is not hyperventilating in a way that introduces irrationality into our actions," Rao said.
"The question asked is whether our relationship with China will be one dominated by increasing competition for influence and for resources as our economic needs grow. I believe the proposition should not be exaggerated in a way that it overshadows all attempts to rationalise the relationship between India and China."
She said the Sino-India relations need not be seen as "being only competitive."
"As our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said, India and China will continue to grow simultaneously and our policies will have to cater to this emerging reality."