Describing the accords reached by India and China as a “win-win” situation for both countries, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha on Wednesday said the border agreement had “recognised” the Nathu-la Pass in Sikkim as a “border pass” between the two countries.
“We have signed a border agreement in which Nathu-la Pass has been recognised as a border pass ... through which trade will be facilitated,” he said in an interview on BBC’s Asia Today programme.
Asked if this meant a tacit admission by China over India’s claims on Sikkim, Sinha said, “You can read the language for yourself. I do not know why there should be any doubt about anything.”
Sinha, who is accompanying Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his six-day visit to China, said that two border passes in Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal had already been recognised by China for border trade.
Asked if there was any confusion on the Indian position on Tibet, the minister said, “I would say there is no change in India’s position and it continues to be consistent with the past positions we have taken.” On whether there was any change in India’s stand over the Dalai Lama, Sinha said, “I don’t think there is any change there.”
When Sinha was asked if he thought both India and China were happy over the understandings reached, he said, “You can have a win-win situation for both.”
The decision to upgrade talks on the border issue with the appointment of special political representatives was described by Sinha as a “very big development”.
“This was an outstanding visit. The Chinese side said the first visit by Prime Minister Vajpayee as Foreign Minister in 1979 had succeeded in ice-breaking. And this time, they said it has been the beginning of a new era,” Sinha said.
Asked about the chemistry between the Indian and Chinese leadership, Sinha said there was “a great deal of warmth, cordiality and candour. You couldn’t have asked for better atmospherics. There was no attempt on the part of either country to avoid any issue or evade or sweep an issue under the carpet. Issues were discussed frankly and freely.”
Sinha also said many more Indo-China visits would take place before the year was out.
Vajpayee’s day out
The PM visited Luoyang, one of China’s ancient capitals, and then flew into Shanghai, symbol of China’s progress. He will stay in Shanghai for two days
Vajpayee’s visit has been reported widely by newspapers and television in China. One report said China had received the “right signals” from India on the business front
Taking IT forward
In Shanghai, the PM will focus on business ties. IT minister Arun Shourie and industry names are in Shanghai to promote cooperation in IT