Now, Delhi relies on Prez to ease strain in India-China ties

Now, Delhi relies on Prez to ease strain in India-China ties

Now, Delhi relies on Prez to ease strain in India-China ties
President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday commenced his visit to China with New Delhi relying on him to smooth the ruffled feathers in Beijing.

Mukherjee landed in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province in southern China, on the first day of his visit, which will also take him to Beijing for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. His visit to China comes days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to travel to Washington and meet American President Barack Obama.

The President was received by Vice Governor of Guangdong, He Zhongyou. In a gesture rarely made during visit of foreign leaders to provincial capitals of China, both the Governor of Guangdong, Zhu Xiaodan, and the Secretary of the local unit of the Communist Party of China, Hu Chunhua, will call on him on Wednesday.

New Delhi, however, is keenly waiting for Mukherjee’s meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Beijing on Thursday.

Sources told DH that Mukherjee would convey to Xi that India was keen to have a “strong partnership” with China, based on “mutual trust and friendship, and sensitivity to each other’s concerns, interests and aspirations”.

Several new irritants of late came up in India’s complex relations with China. New Delhi has been upset about Beijing’s persistent policy of shielding Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and other terrorist leaders based in Pakistan from the United Nations sanctions.

China has also opposed India’s proposed entry to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG). Beijing argues that since neither New Delhi, nor Islamabad signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, if India is admitted into the NSG, Pakistan should also get a berth in the 48-nation cartel that controls global trade in atomic material, equipment and technology.

Addressing members of Indian community in Guangzhou in the evening, Mukherjee recalled that India had been arguing for China's inclusion in the World Trade Organization right from the early days of the body. He appeared to be indicating that New Delhi would expect Beijing to reciprocate by supporting India's membership at the NSG and the United Nations Security Council.

India has also been opposing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is proposed to cover the areas that New Delhi claims as its own and accuses Islamabad of illegal occupation. Beijing was also irked by the recent conclave of Chinese dissidents in India.