There is certain amount of assertiveness by China: Prime Minister

There is certain amount of assertiveness by China: Prime Minister

There is certain amount of assertiveness by China: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addresses the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on Monday. AFP

Against the backdrop of some provocative steps by China, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said there was ''certain amount of assertiveness'' by China lately, which had to be taken note of.

In a hard-hitting statement, he also sought to ridicule China's growth, suggesting that it was achieved by the ''writ of the ruling group in an undemocratic set-up'' while ignoring values like respect for human rights and multi-ethnic and multi-cultural rights.

"There is certain amount of assertiveness on the part of Chinese. I don't fully understand the reasons for it. That has to be taken note of," Singh said during an interaction at the US Council for Foreign Relations here.

He did not elaborate but the statement assumes significance considering that China has recently been involved in some provocative steps like issuing visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir on stapled sheets of paper rather than passport, to send out a message that the state was not a part of India.

Besides, China has objected to the Prime Minister's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, is participating in projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir despite India's objections and mentioned Indo-Pak relations in Joint Statement with the US.

Referring to the longstanding India-China border problems, the Prime Minister said India has been "trying hard" to engage China over the last five years in an attempt to resolve the dispute through dialogue.

Pending the solution, the two countries have agreed to maintain peace and tranquility on the borders. "I have received these assurances from China at the highest level," said Singh, who is here on a four-day visit since Sunday.

To a question on the Sino-US joint statement issued after meeting between US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in Beijing last week in which Indo-Pak relations were mentioned, the Prime Minister was dismissive. "What happens between President Obama and President Hu is not our direct concern," he said.

Singh also sought to ridicule economic growth.

"No doubt Chinese growth performance is superior to India's growth performance. But I always believe that there are other values which are important than the growth of GDP -- respect for fundamental human rights, respect for rule of law, respect for multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious rights," he said.

"There are several dimensions to human freedom which are not always caught by the numbers with regard to the GDP. So I do believe that even though Indian performance with regard to GDP might not be as good as the Chinese, certainly I would not like to choose the Chinese path. I would like to stick to Indian path," Singh said explaining why Indian model of economic reform was preferable.

The Prime Minister said India might seem to be indecisive at times, but "once democracy decides on the basis of wide-ranging consensus, any reforms that are undertaken will be far more durable, far more effective than the reforms introduced by the writ of ruling group in a non-democratic set-up."

At the same time, the Prime Minister said world should be prepare for "peaceful rise of China as a major power" and "so engagement is the right strategy both for India as well as the US."