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Cloud over Khurshid's visit to China

On Board Special Aircraft, May 3, 2013, (PTI):
Pti Photo.

The planned visit by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to Beijing next week is under a cloud as he said today that the progress in dialogue to end stand-off in Ladakh is not satisfactory and India would have liked "much better response" from China.

Khurshid, who is slated to travel to Beijing on May 9, said the review of his visit has not been done "as of now" but "what will happen tomorrow, one can't predict today".
He emphasised that India wanted reversal of "adverse incident" in Ladakh and return to the status quo in Depsang Valley where the Chinese troops intruded.

"We haven't reviewed at this stage. We have not found it necessary. We have not...reached at that stage to review," Khurshid said when asked whether his scheduled visit to Beijing is under review.

Questioned whether there was certainty about his going ahead with the visit, he responded, "The word certainty is not a good word to use in human affairs. What will happen tomorrow one can't predict today".

He remained evasive on giving clarity on the visit despite repeated queries but sources said the visit would "not be worthwhile" if there is no progress in talks taking place at various levels.

Earlier in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the visit of Khurshid to Beijing on May 9 and said both nations are committed to resolving the dispute over the presence of PLA troops in Depsang valley in Ladakh through talks without letting it to "affect" bilateral ties.

Khurshid, who China said would be on a two day visit at the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, would meet Chinese leaders besides holding talks with Wang.

Khurshid, who was talking to journalists accompanying him to Iran for a three-day visit, said "We are concentrating on dialogue and hopefully dialogue will be successful."

Noting that dialogue is continuing, he said "We are keeping the channels of communication open. We are carefully articulating whatever our expectations are."
Asked whether India is satisfied with the progress of dialogue with China over incursion, he said "I can't say we have satisfaction at this stage...I can't say we have reached the level of satisfaction."

He went on to add, "We would have liked much better response from China. We would be disappointed if the response thus far we got is not improved."

Contending that "We are in the right direction", and "best efforts" are being made to bring about desired results in the dialogue taking place, Khurshid said he could not assert that it will happen tomorrow.

When asked about preparation for Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang's visit to New Delhi which expected this month, Khurshid said, "It is sequential as it will take place after my own visit to Beijing."


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