Indicating that it would continue to upgrade infrastructure in Tibet and rest of western China, Beijing has said New Delhi should not worry about its pursuit for development in the region as its efforts would also create opportunities for India.
“We need to devote all our energy to make lives better for our people…we have to continue our development efforts in our western region,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on the concluding day of his visit to New Delhi. “Our development efforts would also create opportunities for the countries bordering our western region,” he said, apparently in a bid to allay New Delhi’s concerns over the development of infrastructure in Tibet.
New Delhi has since long been worried over frenetic pace at which China has been developing infrastructure in Tibet and bringing railway and road networks closer to its disputed border with India.
India too has of late stepped up construction of civilian and military infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, particularly in the areas closer to the Line of Actual Control.
The recent border stand off at Depsang Bulge in Ladakh triggered speculation, whether it was Beijing’s reaction to New Delhi’s bid to develop infrastructure in the border regions.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid later told journalists that New Delhi had also conveyed to Li its concerns over growing Chinese activities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
“We mentioned that Chinese activity in PoK should not become adverse to India’s interest,” said Khurshid. The Chinese side explained that their engagement in PoK was limited to developmental programmes by civilian companies of China”. Li’s address in New Delhi on Tuesday was his first public speech in a foreign country after taking over as Chinese Premier last March.
The Chinese Premier greeted the audience of academicians, diplomats and students with a ‘Namaste’. “I was deeply impressed by India's vast territory, time-honoured civilisation as well as hard-working and talented people,” he said, the fond memories were still fresh in his mind.
With the three-week-long border stand-off casting a shadow over his visit, Li on Tuesday said that India and China should not shy away from resolving the boundary dispute and recognising the differences between themselves, but should also take forward their strategic and cooperative partnership.
The Chinese Premier said both India and China had stakes in peace and stability of South Asia. He also said that peace and stability in South Asia were also important for the western region of China.