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PM raises border incursion with Chinese Premier
Says any such face-off will hit ties
Substantive talks today
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

Manmohanís stand

  • Manmohan Singh The two countries ought to keep in mind each otherís sensitivities and concerns, pending a final settlement of the boundary dispute
  • There should be an early demarcation of the LAC

Liís observations

  • The visit would strengthen mutual trust, deepen cooperation, expand common interests
  • It was in the interests of the two countries to co-exist peacefully and maintain friendly relations

Trade ties

  • Trade ties between the two countries also figured in the meeting 
  • The Indian PM expressed concern over the yawning trade gap between the two countries
  • He sought market access for Indian companies in the pharmaceuticals and IT sectors
  • The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to achieve the bilateral trade target of $ 100-billion by 2015

New Delhi, May 19
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today raised with visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang the recent incursion by the Peopleís Liberation Army (PLA) in Ladakh and is understood to have cautioned that any such face-off between troops of the two countries along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in future could impact bilateral relationship.

The Chinese leader was told that the two countries ought to keep in mind each otherís sensitivities and concerns, pending a final settlement of the boundary dispute. The Indian PM also sought an early demarcation of the LAC.

In a statement on his arrival in India on his maiden overseas tour, the Chinese leader made some positive noises, expressing confidence that his visit would strengthen mutual trust, deepen cooperation, expand common interests and consolidate bilateral friendship to inject a new vigour to India-China strategic and cooperative partnership. It was in the fundamental interests of the two countries to co-exist peacefully, maintain friendly relations and work together to realise national rejuvenation, he said.

Sources said the issues of ďpriority interestsĒ were raised upfront by the Indian PM during the restricted meeting held shortly after the Chinese Premierís arrival. Importance of peace and tranquillity on border, concerns on water flows of trans-border rivers and the need to address the yawning trade deficit were also highlighted.

Manmohan Singh articulated Indiaís views in a constructive but firm manner. The talks were cordial and constructive, setting the stage for substantive discussions between the two leaders tomorrow, sources added.

It is understood that they discussed ways in which the two countries could prevent border flare-ups, particularly like the recent 20-day stand-off in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) Sector. The Chinese side sought an early inking of the border defence cooperation agreement (BDCA).

However, India made it clear that it was still studying the draft of the accord proposed by Beijing. New Delhi suggested an early convening of the 16th round of talks between the Special Representatives of the two countries on the boundary issue.

The two leaders touched upon a range of bilateral issues as well as global developments. After the restricted meeting, the PM hosted a private dinner in honour of the visiting dignitary. Tomorrow, they will hold delegation-level talks, followed by the conclusion of nearly a dozen agreements between the two countries in different fields.

Li will also meet other Indian leaders tomorrow, including President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. A joint statement is also expected to be issued by the two sides.

The Chinese Premier will deliver a lecture on India-China ties on Tuesday before flying to Mumbai, primarily to address a business meeting being organised by apex chambers of commerce.

The burgeoning trade ties between the two countries also figured in the meeting. The Indian PM expressed concern over the yawning trade gap between the two countries and sought market access for Indian companies in the pharmaceuticals and IT sectors. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to achieve the bilateral trade target of $ 100-billion by 2015.

Another issue that reportedly figured during the talks between the two leaders was China building dams over the Brahmaputra River, affecting the flow of water to the Indian sides. India is understood to have reiterated that the two countries evolve a joint mechanism to monitor the flow of water.

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