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India firm on China stand

world Updated: Oct 28, 2010 23:05 IST
HT Correspondent

India seeks continuing engagement with China but will maintain its standing positions on contentious issues, said official sources, just two days before a potentially testy bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The sources noted that Singh, during a recent speech during his just-concluded state visit to Malaysia, had iterated his position that Asia was big enough for India and Asia.

Regarding Beijing's recent statements about continuing the policy of stapled visas for Indians residents in Kashmir and other contentious issues, official sources merely said India would continue its standing position on these fronts. New Delhi has said China must have a uniform visa policy for all Indian citizens.

India and China have a "complex and intense" relationship. The sources said that while the two countries have their differences, the two are seeking a long-term settlement of their disputes and have a framework in the form of their respective special representatives. "There is no dilution of India's views on this," said a source.

India is also pursuing its demands that China relax a number of trade barriers for Indian businesses and exports.

These include access to Indian pharmaceuticals, the opening of Chinese government contracts to Indian businesses and specific tariffs on Indian manufactured goods.

"In our meetings with the Chinese, we have found them receptive to India's concerns," said a source.