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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

India, China hold talks amid new strain in bilateral ties

September 9, 2008

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 12:03:05 GMT (DPA)
 
New Delhi - India and China began high-level talks Monday amid a new strain in bilateral relations over Beijing's perceived negative role that threatened Indian efforts for civilian nuclear trade with the world. Indian officials criticized China for objecting to a trade waiver for India at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on the weekend.
 
The waiver, clinched after hectic lobbying by the United States, was crucial to allow India to trade in fissile materials and technology to meet its soaring energy needs.
 
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi arrived in New Delhi Monday for talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence.
 
"He is also scheduled to meet his counterpart Pranab Mukherjee later on Monday evening. The protracted boundary dispute will also feature in the talks," India's external affairs ministry said.
 
Yang's visit follows public remarks by India's National Security Advisor MK Narayanan that the government will convey "some kind of disappointment" over Beijing's position at the NSG.
 
"We (India) will convey some kind of disappointment to him (Yang) because we expected something more from them (China)," Narayanan told the NDTV network.
 
"We were a little surprised about China," he said, adding that President Hu Jintao had both assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that China would play a "constructive role" at the NSG.
 
But India would seek good relations with China in spite of the lack of support at the nuclear forum, Narayanan added.
 
"We cannot choose our neighbours. We have China and Pakistan as neighbours and with both of them we desire to have the best of relations," he told another news channel.
 
Analysts wrote in Indian dailies that Beijing was uneasy with India's ascendance on the global stage and had made a covert effort to sabotage the waiver that would implement a 2005 US-India civil nuclear trade deal.
 
Ties between the Asian giants had warmed over the past few years due to increased dialogue and booming trade, despite a long-standing border dispute left over from the 1962 war between the countries.
 
The boundary dispute involves large areas along their 4,000-kilometre border.
 
Officials said the goal of achieving a bilateral trade target of 40 billion dollars by 2010 was also going to be achieved two years early.
 
Nearly 300 Tibetan exiles held a protest march in New Delhi to protest Yang's visit. The protestors walked towards the Jantar Mantar area in central Delhi demanding an independence for their homeland, and end to China's alleged human rights violations in Tibet.
 
Yang is on a three-day visit to India, his first since becoming foreign minister.
 
He arrived in the eastern metropolis of Kolkata Sunday, where he inaugurated China's new consulate. He is scheduled to conclude his India visit on Tuesday, and then travel to Sri Lanka.
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