India, China seek to rebuild trust, understanding

Bilateral discussions covered all aspects, says Krishna

External affairs minister SM Krishna (L) with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi before the commencement of the ninth trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC) in Bangalore on Tuesday. PTI Photo

Foreign Minister S M Krishna and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi met here on Tuesday afternoon on the sidelines of the India-Russia-China foreign ministers' meeting for over 90 minutes. Their meeting assumed significance in the backdrop of a series of statements and verbal exchanges between the two sides that had cast a shadow over their steadily improving ties.

A brief statement issued by Krishna hardly gave out any details of their rather long discussion. But it did mention that they covered all aspects of “our bilateral relations.”  
It was evident from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks at a press conference in Thailand last week following his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao that the two foreign ministers would go to the details of all the contentious issues that had bogged down the bilateral relations over the last few weeks.

The prime minister had stated that he had not discussed any “specific’’ issue with Wen as “we both agreed that whatever issues are outstanding should be discussed two days later when the foreign ministers of our two countries are going to meet. The Chinese foreign minister is coming to India on 27th of this month to participate in India-China-Russia Summit at Foreign Ministers level. Therefore, there will be opportunities for the two foreign ministers to exchange views on all relevant issues.”

The main issue of contention, of course, has been the reported incursions by the Chinese soldiers across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh, though there have also been other irritants like the Dalai Lama’s scheduled visit to this Indian state next month.

The mutual agreement to strengthen defence contacts appeared to be aimed to ensure that the LAC remained peaceful, pending a final resolution of the boundary dispute. It was significant that the two foreign ministers on Tuesday emphasised the need to seek trust and understanding at a political level as both the countries had already concluded that a final solution could be found only through a political settlement. 

As part of the efforts to seek trust and understanding at political level, they also agreed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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