PM-level hotline to defuse tension

PM-level hotline to defuse tension

Singh, Wen Jiabao to meet in Thailand next week

PM-level hotline to defuse tension

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao
“We are very near to setting up the hotline. This is in the interest of taking forward a fair, reasonable, mutually agreeable relationship (between the two countries),” sources said here.

The setting up of the hotline was proposed and agreed upon during a meeting of special representatives of the two countries in September 2008 and reconfirmed during their meeting in New Delhi in August this year. The move to expedite the hotline at the highest level of the two governments is being seen as a confidence-building measure.

The hotline move comes ahead of a likely meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Thailand next week. The two leaders will be in Thailand to participate in the ASEAN which will take place from October 23 to 25.
The Chinese leader earlier this week had expressed interest in meeting Singh on the sidelines of the ASEAN meet. In another development, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan on Friday met BJP president Rajnath Singh in the capital in an effort to reach out to the main Opposition party to defuse the tensions.

Zhang said his country wanted to have cordial relations with India and the media reports about the Chinese incursions had aggravated the matter, according to party sources.

The two sides have been at loggerheads following a series of unhelpful verbal exchanges, including the ones on Arunachal Pradesh and the Chinese involvement in the construction of power and road projects in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The sources dropped hints that India might not use diplomatic tools that vitiate the atmosphere any further. “We don’t want the normalisation of relations to be derailed. We want this relationship to progress further. Let us not allow these (recent incidents) to complicate our relationship.”

In the meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao lent further credence to these views coming from official quarters. In an interview with All India Radio, she said that “the recent tension between India and China intensifies tahe need for the two sides to sit down and resolve the border issue”.

She told AIR: “The focus that has been given to both the incursions and also to the Arunachal issue only intensifies the need for the two sides to resolve these issues with even more seriousness and determination.”