M A I N   N E W S

Protocol on CBMs finalised
Chinese PM arrives in Bangalore
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

A Tibetan girl holds a placard in Bangalore
A Tibetan girl holds a placard in Bangalore on Saturday, protesting against the police action of restricting them in going out of their hostel premises in view of Chinese premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Bangalore. — PTI photo

New Delhi, April 9
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Bangalore this evening on his four-day official visit to India while top officials of the two countries here finalised a Protocol on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).

Significantly, Mr Wen had meaningful and strategically-important visits to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka before setting foot on Indian soil. Karnataka Governor T.N. Chaturvedi and Chief Minister Dharam Singh received Mr Wen at the airport.

Mr Wen had a meeting with the Chief Minister. The focus of this one-to-one meeting was that China and India, should shed their rivalry in the IT sector and instead become collaborators rather than competitors. China holds an edge over India in hardware aspects of IT while India is the undisputed king of software aspect of IT on the world stage.

Besides, China is also very keen on cooperating with India in Bio-Technology sectors. Karnataka is the engine of Indian growth in both IT and BT and hence the Chinese Premier’s interest in Karnataka.

Mr Wen is scheduled to visit the premises of IT major Tata Consultancy Services and the campus of Indian Institute of Science and hold discussions with a select group of scientists in Bangalore tomorrow after which he would leave for New Delhi.

He is scheduled to arrive here tomorrow evening.

Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran held talks with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei today on a host of issues to set the stage for Mr Wen’s summit-level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on April 11. The two officials finalised a Protocol on CBMs, discussed political parameters and guiding principles for resolving the border dispute and fine-tuned a slew of agreements that the two countries are going to sign on Monday in such diverse fields as civil aviation, trade and commerce, energy, environment, flood control, weather data and films.

The Special Representative-level talks on resolving the border dispute between China’s Dai Bingguo and his Indian counterpart M.K. Narayanan is to be held tomorrow.

The Ministry of External Affairs has decided not to issue any official releases on India-China meetings of today and tomorrow and plans to brief the media only on Monday.

Meanwhile, positive signals have emanated from Beijing coinciding with Mr Wen’s India visit. It is well known about China that if it wishes to engage with any country, it does so in a pro-active manner, like Chinese engagement with the US and Russia. Similar diplomatic symbolism is being seen already, South Block officials are at pains to point out.

“Beijing Review”, Chinese official organ, in its latest issue coinciding with Mr Wen’s India visit, has described India and China as schoolmates that are now studying in a colossal institute called “Modernisation University.” It says: “Unlike general colleges and universities as seen everywhere, this school of modernisation is invisible and there is no professor or instructor for the students named China and India. As self-taught students, they have to take extraordinary pains to work at their dissertations, which focus on the specific approaches to the prosperity and modernisation destination, based on the respective circumstances of China and India.” “Beijing Review” talks of China having made a perceptional leap vis a vis India “which has resulted in a wave of learning from India”. It also mentions a long list of fields in which India has done a better job than China — software development, IT research, use of foreign funds, banking system and outsourcing work.

With bilateral trade turnover pegged at 13.6 billion US dollars, China is already India’s second biggest trade partner after the US ($17 billion). Economic cooperation will once again come under focus of the two countries when the two Prime Ministers talk. The two sides have already set up a Joint Study Group (JSG) to examine the potential complementarities between the two countries in expanded trade and economic cooperation. The JSG has already completed its work and finalised its report, which will be presented to the two Prime Ministers.

The Chinese Premier will also hold talks with President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani.

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