The first visit of a top Indian diplomat to Beijing since the Tibet riots in March and the storming of the Chinese Embassy by Tibetan activists in New Delhi ended on Tuesday, with China again conveying “appreciation” for the smooth relay of the Olympic torch in New Delhi.
“They were grateful for what we had done, and more concerned about the larger issue,” said Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, briefing the media at the end of his two-day visit. “Our approach is quite clear. We won’t allow anything that breaks our law or attacks a friendly third country from our soil. They know our position and we’ve seen theirs.”
Menon also emphasised that India and China share “overwhelming convergence” on most climate change issues. Climate change will be hot on the agenda of the next G-8 summit in Hokkaido, Japan in July.
But on Tuesday, the focus was bilateral relations. Menon held meetings with Chinese officials to discuss progress in relations since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to China in January, when both nations had agreed on a shared vision document.
Menon lunched with China's assistant foreign affairs minister He Yafei and also met vice foreign affairs minister Wang Yi and Chinese state councillor Dai Bingguo. “Both sides expressed satisfaction at the development of relations. Things are moving steadily,”' Menon said.
They also discussed plans for further high-level visits this year, including external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee's planned visit to China in early June. A joint economic group headed by commerce ministers of both sides is also slated to meet soon.
The Chinese side did not bring up Singh’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, said Menon. Earlier on Monday, Menon attended the meeting of outreach countries of the G-8 to plan coordination and cooperation at the G-8 summit to be held in Japan. India, China, Mexico, South Africa and Brazil are the five outreach nations of the G-8 which comprises the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, Canada and Russia.
“For us, it's really a question of growth and development and the right to develop,”' Menon said on India’s stance on emission controls and climate change. “Our per capita emissions will never exceed that of developed countries while our economy continues to grow.”