A week before the 15th round of talks on the vexed boundary issue between India and China is likely to be held, Beijing on Wednesday asked New Delhi to resolve outstanding issues in a wise and calm manner.
State councilor Dai Bingguo, China’s special representative for the talks which began in 1982, said: “we need to handle issues between the two countries wisely, calmly and properly and prevent them from becoming barriers between the two countries and obstacles to bilateral relations.”
Beside the 4500 km-long border along largely mountainous terrain, there have been other “barriers’’ which have frequently turned Indo-China relations frigid.
The high-ranking Chinese official did not mention any issue but, for one, Beijing appears continued to be vexed after the dates for the last round of boundary talks -- scheduled in New Delhi in November --clashed with an international Buddhist conference where Tibet’s spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, was to speak. The talks were abruptly postponed after Beijing wanted to New Delhi to cancel the conference; the symposium went on as per schedule.
India too can raise a point of annoyance; last week, China again refused visa to an Indian air force officer from Arunachal Pradesh who was a member of a defence delegation slated to visit China. While the 30-member tri-service team is currently touring China, India withdrew group captain M Panging from the delegation.
But in his speech, Dai also focused on the growing cooperation between the two Asian giants and the opportunities that lie ahead. He was delivering the key-note address at the closing function for the India-China Year of Exchange. It was also the first visit of a high-ranking Chinese official at the new Indian chancery in Beijing.
Dai said the trade between the two countries had touched the 67 billion dollar-mark in the first 11 months of 2011, which could have been “hard to believe 10 years ago.”
Quoting Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh and Premier Wen Jiabo, Bingguo said there was enough room for both countries to develop and work together in the world, adding that the two countries were becoming increasingly important in the region and the world.
High-level exchanges should be maintained between the two countries in the sectors of information and technology, finance and infrastructure, he added.
Earlier, Indian ambassador S Jaishankar said though both countries have their share of challenges, building on commonalities while managing differences was the way forward. “Certainly, we have our share of challenges. A settlement of the boundary question still awaits us. A fairer and balanced economic relationship is also necessary. We must remain continuously sensitive to mutual concerns,’’ Jaishankar said.