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India, China for reasonable solution to boundary dispute

Harish Khare

Friendship with India is China’s long-term objective, says Wen Jiabao

— Photo: PTI/Manvender Vashist

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during the 6th India-ASEAN summit in Singapore on Wednesday.

SINGAPORE: India and China have reiterated their willingness to find “a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution” to the “boundary question.”

This reaffirmation of a readiness to move forward in resolving the vexatious boundary dispute was made in a meeting on Wednesday between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN summit here.

Dr. Singh drove to Mr. Wen’s hotel, The Ritz Carlton Millenia, for a brief, half-hour interaction in the Chihuly Room.

According to the Indian officials accompanying Dr. Singh, the two leaders expressed satisfaction over the progress achieved so far by the designated Special Representatives for sorting out the dispute.

While they expressed readiness to take “the India-China Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity” to the next higher level, Mr. Wen told Dr. Singh that friendship with India was China’s strategic and long-term objective.

Dr. Singh told his counterpart that New Delhi equally valued “partnership” with China and that it was committed to “ensuring the comprehensive development of bilateral relations for mutual benefit and on the basis of mutual sensitivity to each others’ concerns.”

They also talked about enhancing cooperation between the two countries in regional and multilateral forums on issues such as climate change and energy security. According to the Indian officials, Mr. Wen was “supportive of international civil nuclear energy cooperation with India.”

The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit China in the second week of January 2008, and Mr. Wen told Dr. Singh that the Chinese government and the people were looking forward to that visit.

Later, Dr. Singh called on Prime Minister Fukuda of Japan. The two restated their commitment to the “strategic and global partnership” between India and Japan.

They agreed on regular high level interaction and on deepening economic and political cooperation, including on issues such as climate change and United Nations Security Council reforms. The two partnership projects, “Dedicated Freight Corridor” and the “Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor” came in for a review.

Dr. Singh also had a brief meeting with his Singaporean and Malaysian counterparts.

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