China may recognise Sikkim soon: PM
The PM wound up his visit to China brushing aside criticism that Delhi had given Beijing more on Tibet than what it got on Sikkim.Updated: Nov 06, 2003 21:44 IST
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday wound up his six-day watershed visit to China brushing aside criticism that New Delhi had given Beijing more on Tibet than what it got on Sikkim.
Addressing an end of the tour press conference at the Okura Garden Hotel, where he was staying, the Prime Minister also expressed confidence that his visit would accelerate a solution to the decades-old boundary dispute.
There was "no ambiguity or inconsistency" in India's position on Tibet, he asserted, adding the stress in the Joint Declaration signed by the two countries was on the "autonomy" part of Tibet.
That is how the whole issue should be looked at, he said. And Vajpayee said New Delhi's understanding was that a formal recognition by Beijing of Sikkim being a part of India would happen soon.
"I do not wish to go into long and tedious explanations or analyses of words," Vajpayee said in response to a question about some criticism over India's recognition of the Tibet Autonomous Region as part of China as reflected in the Joint Declaration he had signed with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
"I would only like to state that there is no ambiguity or inconsistency in our position on the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. We are, therefore, happy to reiterate our position in the Joint Declaration."
He said the initiatives taken during his visit would "accelerate" a solution to the decades-old boundary dispute.
Vajpayee said during his talks with Chinese leaders, both countries had discussed the "principles" of an "eventual boundary settlement".
He said the border issue, which had bedeviled ties between Asia's giant neighbours, had never before been discussed in such detail as in this visit and hoped the political push given to the border talks with the appointment of a Special Representative by both sides "will accelerate the search for a solution to this vexed problem".
Vajpayee said he and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao had agreed that work on the clarification of the 4,000 km Line of Actual Control -- the military ceasefire line -- should continue smoothly and that peace and tranquility on that frontier should be maintained.
The first Indian prime minister to visit this country in 10 years, Vajpayee appeared very satisfied with his trip, during which he had a chance to exchange views with a new generation of Chinese leaders.
He said there was a "compelling geographical, political and economic logic" for closer relations between the two countries and added that the Chinese leadership "fully reciprocates our desire for mutual goodwill and for a comprehensive expansion of our cooperation in all areas".
The goal of the visit, which was to strengthen ties and create confidence in each other, has been achieved, Vajpayee said, adding that the development of India-China relations augurs well for the future.
Vajpayee, however, ruled out military cooperation between the two countries, saying any defence cooperation in the wake of Defence Minister George Fernandes' visit here would still remain limited.
First Published: Nov 06, 2003 21:44 IST