China on Friday said it welcomed commitments made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during talks on Thursday that India would neither participate in any “containment strategy" aimed at China nor allow anti-China activities by exiled Tibetans.
In a reflection of what Beijing views as among the two more delicate issues facing the bilateral relationship with New Delhi – India's ties with the U.S. and Tibet – the Chinese Foreign Ministry highlighted Dr. Singh’s comments as suggesting an increase in political trust between the neighbours.
The Indian Prime Minister conveyed that “India has no intention and will not participate in any strategy aimed at containing China" in Thursday’s meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in New Delhi on the sidelines of the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) Summit, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said at a briefing.
Chinese officials and analysts have in recent months expressed concern that the U.S. “pivot" to Asia and strengthening of alliances with countries in the region was aimed at China. Many commentaries in the
State media have also debated India’s role in any U.S. strategy.
Mr. Hong said Dr. Singh had also stated that India “recognised Tibet as an inalienable part of Chinese territory and will not allow Tibetans to engage in anti-China activities”.
Protests against Mr. Hu’s visit by Tibetans in India, including a self-immolation that claimed the life of 27-year-old Jamphel Yeshi, reflected the continuing sensitivity of the Tibet issue amid on-going unrest in Tibetan areas in China, which have seen at least 30 self-immolations in the past year.
While Chinese officials and State media have blamed the exiled Dalai Lama for the protests, Indian and Chinese officials have said both sides were working hard to "manage" the issue to insulate bilateral ties from it. Mr. Hu, on likely his last visit to India ahead of a once-in-decade leadership transition in Beijing, said it was China’s “unswerving policy” to deepen strategic cooperation and build “a more dynamic China-India relationship”, Mr. Hong said.
Chinese officials and the media on Friday also welcomed agreements reached at the BRICS summit on financial cooperation. "This summit has clearly not been a wasted opportunity and has been successful in advancing cooperation, consultation and coordination among the member countries," the official China Daily said in an editorial.
The deal between banks of five countries to formalise cooperation in local currency lending would “further facilitate trade and investment”, Chen Yuan, chairman of the China Development Bank, was quoted as saying by the State-run Xinhua news agency.
“Using our own currencies to issue loans and settle payments can minimise exposure to exchange rate fluctuations, reduce our reliance on third-party currencies, and facilitate trade and investment,” he said, adding that member banks had “actively implemented” the framework agreement on financial cooperation agreed to at the previous summit in Sanya.
The five countries also agreed to ask their finance ministers to conduct feasibility studies into the setting up of a BRICS development bank and report back by the next summit. The agreement fell short of expectations that the Delhi Summit would yield a more concrete outcome on long-running discussion on the bank.
Mr. Hong rejected fears that the bank would be dominated by Chinese interests was an obstacle. “The setting up of the bank is to enhance the well-being of developing countries and is for the benefit of people in the developing countries,” he said. “I think this is a very meaningful endeavour, and such a step will contribute to investment, trade and development…China will like to play a positive role in this field.”
It was China's view that cooperation between the BRICS countries “sends a message of unity cooperation and win-win outcome to the outside world”, he said. “China believes that cooperation among BRICS countries will attain higher levels,” he added. "This will continue to play a constructive role in promoting global economic growth, improving global economic governance, and strengthening multilateralism and democracy in international relations”.