N-deal with Pak will follow international norms: China

Last Updated 06 July 2010, 12:53 IST

New Delhi will "wait and see" how Beijing presses ahead with its plans to build two nuclear reactors in Pakistan's Chashma II plant, visiting National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon told the Indian media here wrapping up his four-day China visit.

"We discussed the issue (of nuclear reactors to Pakistan) with them (Chinese leaders) on two or three occasions. They told us that what they are doing will be in accordance with their international obligations. We will wait and see where this is going," he said after meetings with the Chinese leadership.

Asked how international obligations can be enforced, Menon, who was here as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Special Envoy, said "we do not enforce international obligations.

"We will wait and see how it develops. It is not for us to enforce. The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has its own guidelines. They told us what they are doing. It is still an evolving situation."

China formally informed NSG recently about its plans to build the nuclear reactors for Pakistan.

Menon's remarks coincided with the arrival of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari here on a six-day visit with Pakistani diplomats asserting that issues relating to the nuclear power plants were very much on his agenda.

The National Security Adviser, who held talks with Premier Wen Jiabao, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and State Councillor Dai Bingguo, however, refuted the perception that his visit here ahead of Zardari's China tour was aimed at discussing issues relating to the Sino-Pak nuclear deal.

"We will engage with China. We do not time visits depending on who is coming and going. In today's world every power engages with every one else. This is normal," he said.

"It (the Sino-Pak nuclear deal) took less than two and a half sentences in the whole visit. This is not the whole point of the visit, even though some stories tried to make it. We have a relationship which is not externally driven," Menon said.

India and China are two big neighbours who engage with each other, whose ties have regional and global significance and who do lot of business with each other, Menon said.

"The purpose is to look at the entire relationship and how we can carry forward. We discussed bilateral relationship, various opportunities it presents on various issues we face and other global issues.

"My overall impression is that both of us are keen to move the relationship forward. We achieved a great deal over time in the last few years," Menon said.

Asked about the Pakistan factor in India-China relations, he said "I think we are in a situation where different powers deal with each other. We are no longer in a zero-sum situation. Our relationship with China is not dependent on the state of our relationship with Pakistan or vice versa."

"Judging by what we have seen over last few years, it is also true of China. Nowhere in talks there is any such linkage by them or by us. That is how the mature powers behave."
Replying to a question about China's support to India's bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, Menon said the issue figured in the talks and Beijing reiterated its stand that it understands New Delhi's aspirations in this regard.

Pakistan's Ambassador to China Masood Khan, meanwhile, was quoted by the state-run 'China Daily' as saying that the issue of cooperation to build two nuclear reactors with the Chinese assistance was in Zardari's agenda for talks with the leadership here.

During his visit, Zardari would meet President Hu Jintao, Prime Minster Wen Jiabao and other top Chinese leaders.

Chinese Foreign Office spokesperson, Qin Gang, skirted questions like whether any agreement would be signed during Zardari's visit on the two nuclear power reactors.

The two sides would sign agreements for cooperation in areas of public health, economy and trade, he said.

Asked whether China was trying to balance its ties with India and Pakistan by having close relations with both of them, Qin said the two countries are China's neighbours. "We hope to have good neighbourly friendly and cooperative relations with both the countries."

"We also hope to see improvement of relations between India and Pakistan. If India's relations with Pakistan improve, China will be very happy about it. China is ready to work with India and Pakistan to promote bilateral relations. It benefits not only our people, but also works for regional peace and prosperity," he said.

On Menon's visit, he said the two sides exchanged views on deepening bilateral cooperation and coordination in the international and regional affairs.

The two sides agreed to enhance mutual trust and expand mutually beneficial cooperation and step up consultation on major international and regional affairs and push forward bilateral relations.

(Published 06 July 2010, 12:53 IST)

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