On a day when top bureaucrats of the two countries inaugurated a new mechanism to resolve the festering border issue, China said it was looking forward to expanding exchanges with India this year and strengthen mutual trust.
Foreign minister Yang Jiechi’s statement on Tuesday that both countries want to see steady growth in the bilateral relationship and enhance trust and cooperation coincided with the visit of a team of Indian officials, led by joint secretary Gautam Bambawale (east Asia), from the ministries of external affairs, home affairs and defence as well members of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.
The Indian team had a series of meetings with their Chinese counterparts, headed by a director general from the foreign ministry; they began the first consultation on the “Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs.”
This new mechanism was set up in New Delhi when top officials from the two countries met in New Delhi for the Special Representatives’ talks on January 17. The meetings continued through Monday and Tuesday.
“The two delegations agreed on the rules governing the functioning of the Mechanism which include convening 1-2 meetings a year, and if required, holding of emergency consultations either through meetings or by telephone/ video conferencing,” an Indian embassy statement said.
The statement added: “they also discussed the possibility of an alternate route for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra and additional items for border trade at Nathu La Pass in Sikkim.”
Earlier, Yangi, addressing reporters at the customary press meet on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress, said he had a “meeting of minds” with counterpart SM Krishna last week in New Delhi.
During his recent visit to India, Yang and his Indian counterpart agreed to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges, advance China-India practical cooperation in all fields, intensify personnel interflow and cultural exchanges, he said.
Yang sounded particularly upbeat about the upcoming BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit to be held in New Delhi on March 28 and 29; President Hu Jintao is scheduled to attend and also hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"I believe that the upcoming fourth summit will be crowned with success," he said.
China is looking forward to promoting bigger and constructive role of BRICS nations in international affairs and relaxation of regional tension so to maintain stability, he said.