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India and China to narrow differences before Wen's Dec. 10 visit

November 3, 2010

Tibetan Review
November 1, 2010

Amid reports of rising differences between the
two sides, with China questioning the political
status of Jammu and Kashmir, Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao and his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan
Singh met for some 45 minutes Oct 29 on the
sidelines of a series of summits between the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
and its partners in Hanoi, the capital of
Vietnam. However, the meeting, though reportedly
held on a positive note, did not appear to have
led to the bridging of the serious gaps in relations between the two sides.

China’s official Xinhua news agency Oct 29,
however, merely reported that the two met to
discuss bilateral ties and other issues of common
concern. The very brief report gave no other details.

The Indian media, on the other hand, reported
that Dr Singh took up "difficult questions"
impacting on Sino-Indian ties and pressed for
"sensitivity" to India's "core issues". The PTI
news agency Oct 29 noted that it was the 10th
meeting between the two leaders in the last six
years and took place in the backdrop of irritants
resulting from China impliedly questioning the
status of Jammu and Kashmir and laying claim to Arunachal Pradesh.

The meeting did not seem to have succeeded in
resolving the issue in any manner. However, it
ended on a rather positive note with an
announcement that Wen would visit India in
mid-December this year. India's national security
advisor Shivshankar Menon and China’s senior
leader Dai Bingguo were to do the groundwork for
the visit. The report said Wen underlined that
for his India visit to be productive, "we discuss
and reach consensus on some major aspects so as
to lay a foundation for the visit".

Menon and Dai are the designated special
representatives of the two sides on their
boundary disputes. They are scheduled to meet in
Beijing by November-end for the 14th round of
border talks between the two sides. The last
meeting was held in New Delhi in Aug’09.

On the Jammu and Kashmir issue, however, China
had already made it clear that its policy of
issuing stapled visa for applicants from the
state would remain unchanged just as India, on
the other hand, had said its defence exchanges
with China still remained suspended due to this unresolved issue.

The Hindustan Times online Oct 29 cited Menon as
saying Singh and Wen had accepted the need to be
sensitive to each other’s “core issues” even
while taking “the relationship forward.” However,
Menon had avoided defining these core issues,
saying only "we will continue to hold discussions on the way to Wen’s visit."

Menon had said the two leaders had taken a
"broader view" of Sino-Indian strategic relations during their meeting.

Meanwhile, China’s official China Daily newspaper
Oct 30 said Wen’s visit would be part of events
marking 60 years of ties between the two
countries. It said that during their Hanoi
meeting, the two sides agreed to seek a just and
reasonable resolution to their border dispute,
sending out a positive note ahead of Wen’s visit.
"To make the visit a productive one, we will
reach a consensus on some major aspects to lay a
foundation for the visit," it quoted Wen as saying.

The Chinese media played up Dr Singh’s comments
that the two countries are friends and partners,
not rivals. When has echoed India’s of-repeated
comment that the world was not only large enough
for the development side-by-side of both
countries, but offered enough areas in which both
sides could cooperate, according to a Xinhua report Oct 29.
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