India-China hotline established

No headway in other issues, Special Representatives to meet later

India-China hotline established

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, right, shakes hands with his Indian counterpart S M Krishna at Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing on Wednesday. Reuters

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi signed an inter-governmental agreement after their bilateral talks, enabling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao to communicate through a hotline.

This is the first time in recent years that India is setting up a hotline with any country.
 Later, during their bilateral meeting, Jiabao made a mention of the agreement saying  this “signified we have brought our relationship closer”. When asked about the hotline, Krishna said: “This shows how close we are getting with each other. It is one of the highlights of my visit to China.”

 Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters that the agreement on hotline was a confidence building measure which opens a direct channel of communication between leaders of the two countries. She later told Deccan Herald that the hotline would be set up very shortly and logistics over for this purpose was being worked out.

The two countries had agreed to set up the hotline in June last year. Interpreters should be present when the two leaders decide to pick up the phone.

However, no much headway was made in other vexed issues though Rao said India’s stand that it would not accept stapled visas for Kashmir residents by China was made clear at the meeting.

On the UNSC seat, she said the Chinese position in this regard was reiterated as encapsulated in the joint statement issued after the prime minister’s visit to China in 2008. China had said it “understood India’s aspirations to play greater role in UN including the Security Council”.

On the boundary dispute, the two sides articulated their resolve to reach an early settlement and reiterated their political will to move forward and seek peaceful negotiated settlement. Rao said the two neighbours have a well-set mechanism of Special Representatives who have met 13 times and the next round of talks has been scheduled later this year in Beijing.

Asked to sum up the four-day visit of Krishna, she said: “We go back with an enhanced level of understanding and clarity on each others’ position and determination to step up our level of exchange. There is growing realisation of the enormous potential that exists for enhancing, deepening and strengthening of our relationship”.

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