India, China Special Representatives to meet soon to discuss boundary settlement

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, May 20, 2013

Li Keqiang hopes visit would increase trust between India, China

India and China today agreed that their Special Representatives would meet soon to continue discussions seeking early agreement on a framework for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable boundary settlement.

At talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang here, the two sides tasked their Special Representatives to consider further measures that may be needed to maintain peace and tranquility along the border.
The meeting between the two leaders took place only days after the recent stand-off in Eastern Ladakh caused by an incursion by Chinese troops.
The two Governments had early this month agreed to restore status quo ante along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector of the India-China boundary as it existed prior to 15 April,2013.
"India and China are two civilizational neighbours and have lived in peace through the ages. We have had our differences in more recent times, but over the last 25 years, we have steadily built a mutually beneficial relationship. The basis for continued growth and expansion of our ties is peace and tranquility on our borders," Dr Singh said at a joint media interaction with Mr Li here today.
"While seeking an early resolution of the boundary question, Premier Li and I agreed that this must continue to be preserved.
"We also took stock of lessons learnt from the recent incident in the Western Sector, when existing mechanisms proved their worth," he said.
Since 2003, the Special Representatives of China and India have held 15 rounds of talks on the border settlement.
National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon is the Special Representative of India and the new Chinese Special Representative is former Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
Dr Singh said it had been immense pleasure for him to get to know Mr Li personally.
"I sincerely appreciate his reaching out to me on his first day in office and his choosing India as his first foreign destination as Premier," he said.
Dr Singh said that, starting yesterday evening, when they had a restricted meeting, Premier Li and he had had wide-ranging and candid discussions covering all matters of mutual interest and concern.
"I am delighted that there are so many areas of convergence between us and on which there is a great deal of meeting of minds. Most importantly, we agreed that the relationship between our two countries is of growing significance and essential for our peaceful development and sustained economic growth, as well as for stability and prosperity in our region and the world," he said.
The Prime Minister said he had reiterated to Mr Li India’s concerns about the effects on lower riparians of activities in the upper reaches of their shared rivers.
"It would be useful for the mandate of our Expert Level Mechanism to be expanded to include information sharing on upstream development projects on these rivers. I am glad that we have agreed to expand cooperation on trans-border rivers. It would also be useful for India and China to collaborate on a better understanding of the stresses on our shared Himalayan ecosystem," he said.
Dr Singh said he had told Mr Li that the rise of China and India was good for the world and that the world had enough space to accommodate the growth aspirations of both their peoples.
"To make this a reality, it is important to build understanding between our two peoples. We agreed that both sides must work to strengthen greater trust and confidence, which, in turn, will permit much larger co-operation," he said.
He said economic cooperation constituted a very important part of the bilateral relationship and the growth potential of the two economies could provide the engine for greater cooperation.
"There are many ongoing areas of co-operation that we will carry forward as outlined in the Joint Statement. I conveyed to Premier Li our concerns about the trade deficit and sought increased market access to China for our exports and investments. I also invited increased Chinese involvement in the vast opportunities in our infrastructure and manufacturing sectors," he said.
"The rapid development of our economies has opened up new opportunities for economic cooperation bilaterally, in our region and globally, which our Strategic Economic Dialogue will identify and explore. We have also discussed the possibility of infrastructure development to link India’s North Eastern region with Bangladesh, Myanmar, China and other countries in the South East Asian region," he said.
Dr Singh said Premier Li and he also used the opportunity to review the rapidly evolving global political and economic situation and resolved to strengthen their strategic communication and dialogue on these issues.
"We also agreed that we have a shared interest in an open multilateral trading system and in combating protectionism," he said.
"Before I conclude, let me say again what a pleasure it has been to welcome Premier Li amongst us. I am sure that his leadership will go a long way in strengthening the relationship between our two countries and extending it to new frontiers. I look forward to seeing him again very soon and I have also accepted his gracious invitation to visit China at the earliest opportunity," he added.
Mr Li, who assumed office in March, arrived here yesterday afternoon at the start of a four-nation tour that will also take him to Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany. In India, he will also visit Mumbai.

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