Setting the framework for accelerating India-China relations across the spectrum, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has conveyed to President Xi Jinping New Delhi’s concerns over repeated incidents on the border and underlined that maintaining peace on the un-demarcated frontier will be a prerequisite for fructifying the full potential of the bilateral relationship.
Alluding to outstanding differences, Prime Minister Modi pressed for an early clarification of the Line of Actual Control and resolving the boundary dispute, which lies at the heart of off-and-on tensions between the two Asian giants.
Speaking at a joint media appearance with the Chinese president in New Delhi September 18, Mr Modi said he discussed these differences in “a spirit of candour and friendship.”
“I raised our serious concern over repeated incidents along the border. We agreed that peace and tranquility in the border region constitutes an essential foundation for mutual trust and confidence and for realizing the full potential of our relationship,” said Mr Modi.
“This is an important understanding, which should be strictly observed,” the prime minister said amid reports of recent incursions by Chinese troops into Ladakh.
“While our border related agreements and confidence building measures have worked well, I also suggested that clarification of Line of Actual Control would greatly contribute to our efforts to maintain peace and tranquility and requested President Xi to resume the stalled process of clarifying the LAC,” the prime minister said.
“We should also seek an early settlement of the boundary question.”
Mr Modi said he also conveyed “India’s concerns relating to China’s visa policy and trans-border rivers,” and hoped for an early resolution of these issues. China’s practice of issuing stapled visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh, India’s north-eastern state which is claimed in entirety by Beijing, has been a source of distrust for New Delhi. The two Asian neighbours have held 17 rounds of boundary negotiations, but are nowhere close to a breakthrough.
Underlining the need for bolstering trust, Mr Modi laid down some ground rules for strengthening relations between the two countries. These included creating a climate of mutual trust and confidence and respect for each other’s sensitivities “…peace and stability in our relations and along our borders are essential for us to realize the enormous potential in our relations,” he said.
“If we achieve that, we can reinforce each other’s economic growth. We can contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in our region. And, we can give new direction and energy to the global economy,” said the prime minister.
The first full-spectrum talks between the leaders of India and China in New Delhi culminated in the two sides signing 16 pacts in diverse areas ranging from trade and investment to culture and films. China pledged around $20 billion for infrastructure development in India, which will ensure that despite differences over border and security issues, the economic relationship will continue to gain strength in days to come.
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