Incursions cast shadow on Sino-India meet, Modi raises issue

Last Updated : 18 September 2014, 11:40 IST
Last Updated : 18 September 2014, 11:40 IST

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With the continuing stand-off in Ladakh casting a shadow over the Sino-India talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today raised "serious concerns" over the repeated incidents along the border and sought an early settlement of the boundary question.

Meeting visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping against the backdrop of Chinese army and civilian incursions, the Prime Minister made it plain to him that the agreement between the two countries on maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border should be "strictly observed".

After taking him on a guided tour of Ahmedabad's landmarks yesterday, Modi sat with Xi for a summit meeting for nearly three hours--both restricted and delegation level talks--when it was decided that China would invest USD 20 billion in next five years.

But the discussions mainly appeared to have centred around the embarrassing border incidents that continued in the Chumar and Demchok sectors last night and this morning. Yesterday, Modi had raised the issue in Ahmedabad though the government had maintained that it was a "courtesy discussion".

"I raised our serious concern over repeated incidents along the border. We agreed that peace and tranquillity in the border region constitutes an essential foundation for the mutual trust and confidence and for realising the full potential of our relationship.

"This is an important understanding, which should be strictly observed. While our border related agreements and Confidence Building Measures have worked well, I also suggested that clarification of Line of Actual Control would greatly contribute to our efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity and requested President Xi to resume the stalled process of clarifying the LAC. We should also seek an early settlement of the boundary question," Modi told the media in the presence of the Chinese President.

On his part, Xi sought to explain the border incidents saying,"since the border is yet to be demarcated, sometimes there might be certain incidents".

But, he said, the two sides were fully capable of acting promptly to effectively manage the situation through various levels of border related mechanisms so that such incidents do not have a large impact on bilateral relations.

"China has the determination to work with India through friendly consultation to settle the boundary question at an early date," Xi said.

After the talks on the second day of his three-day visit, 12 agreements were also signed on various issues including setting up two Chinese industrial parks in India and investments in the Railways.

Modi noted that China was India's largest neighbour and "therefore, a climate of mutual trust and confidence, respect for each other's sensitivities and concerns and peace and stability in our ties and along our borders are essential for us to realise the enormous potential in our relations".

Apart from border incidents, Modi also raised concerns over Chinese visa regime and trans-border rivers.

"We discussed India's concerns relating to China's visa policy and trans-border rivers. I am confident that their early resolution would take mutual trust to a new level," the Prime Minister said.

On his part, Xi said the two sides agreed to continue to be respectful of and sensitive to each other's concerns and appropriately handle the outstanding issues between China and India in a positive attitude.

"China and India are important neighbours to each other. There are certain other outstanding issues between the two countries. The two sides should work actively and seriously to address and handle them in the same spirit of seeking amicable relationship with each other," Xi said.

Asserting that he attaches great importance and priority to relations with China, Modi said during the talks over the two days in Ahmedabad and Delhi they have decided to deepen the engagement at all levels and hold regular summit level meetings.

Modi also announced that the countries have decided that they will begin the process of discussions on civil nuclear energy cooperation that will bolster the broader cooperation on energy security.

Noting that the economic relations do not do justice to India-China potential, the Prime Minister expressed concern at the slowdown in trade and the worsening trade imbalance.

"I sought his partnership in improving market access and investment opportunities for Indian companies in China. President Xi assured me of his commitment to take concrete steps to address our concerns," he said, adding he has invited Chinese investments in India's infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.

Referring that the agreements on two Chinese industrial parks in India and a commitment to realise about USD 20 billion of Chinese investments in the next five years, Modi said it opens "a new chapter in our economic relations".

Significantly, the Chinese financial pledge is much less that what India got from Japan during Modi's visit. Japan had pledged USD 35 billion spread over five years.

Published 18 September 2014, 04:43 IST

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