Indian PM in China to foster trust
Beijing, January 13, 2008
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in China on Sunday for a three-day visit aimed at reducing mutual suspicions over long-standing border disputes, while building on strong trade ties to foster trust.
In his first visit to China since taking office in 2004, Singh is scheduled to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao, top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao.
Leaders of the world's fastest-growing major economies and most populous nations may find common ground on energy and climate change, but analysts cautioned against hopes for any major breakthroughs.
'If you compare this visit to previous years, it is a very welcome departure that there is no attempt to project some grand achievement,' said Alka Acharya, head of East Asian studies at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University.
'There is a certain normality coming about in terms of high-level interaction but there is considerable depth in the relationship which has yet to be explored.'
Before his arrival in Beijing, Singh called the relationship an 'imperative necessity' and dismissed the talk India was ganging up with the United States, Japan and Australia against China.
Despite annual summits between the former foes, a 'strategic partnership' announced three years ago has yet to take off.
'As of now we are comfortable with our relationship with China,' Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon had said on Friday.
'It's made good progress, we think both sides are determined to settle the boundary question, and we are both successful in maintaining peace and tranquillity along the border.'
In their reaction to climate change, India and China sound at their most harmonious. Both resist calls for mandatory curbs on emissions for developing nations and insist the greater burden for mitigation be borne by the already developed West.
Yet many bilateral irritants remain, such as a festering border dispute and trade barriers, said Zhang Li, at China's Sichuan University.-Reuters