Chinese officials and the State media have sought to play down differences with India ahead of External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna's arrival here on Tuesday, calling on both sides “to increase mutual trust and also take care of each other's misgivings.”
Underscoring keenness to minimise any disruption to Mr. Krishna's visit, both sides' officials on Monday firmly rejected media reports that claimed that the Chinese embassy in New Delhi had issued an advisory cautioning citizens against travelling to India.
The reports had claimed the “tit-for-tat” move was a response to a trade advisory issued by India to businessmen in Yiwu following disputes in the trading hub.
Chinese officials pointed out that the notice, in Chinese, posted on the website of the embassy and the Foreign Ministry on May 31 only called on citizens “to confirm their itineraries” in light of possible travel disruptions on account of the nationwide protests last Thursday over the rise in fuel prices, and had not advised Chinese citizens “against travelling to India” as the media reports claimed.
“Connecting the notice, which was issued for the safety of Chinese citizens in India, to other advisories and political matters is ridiculous.”
Indian embassy sources added that while they had not seen a similar advisory in the past, they attached no undue importance to the notice, which said it “advises the Chinese citizens to confirm your itineraries with related organisations in advance and pay special attention to your safety and personal belongings”.
The notice was posted last week after some Chinese travel agencies had, on Wednesday, cancelled tours to India in anticipation of last Thursday's strike.
According to representatives at the China International Travel company and Compass International Travel, two Beijing-based travel agencies, several Chinese clients already on tours to India had voiced concerns about safety on account of the strike disrupting public transport last week.
Indian officials said on Monday that signs from Beijing were “positive” ahead of the visit of Mr. Krishna, who will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit meeting on Wednesday and hold bilateral talks with a top Chinese official, expected to be one of the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee, on Thursday.
He will arrive in Beijing on Tuesday night.
On Monday, the Communist Party-run Global Times, a newspaper known for its nationalist views, published what officials described as an unusual commentary on India, calling on China to have “a clear goal” in its India policy. Authored by scholar Sun Peisong, the commentary said both sides should make the most of summit meetings, such as this week's SCO gathering, to “increase mutual trust and also take care of each other's misgivings”.
“The history and culture of India and China is different from that of the West,” said the commentary.
“Both countries do not approve of a Europe/U.S.-led world and strive to realise multi-polarity. Both countries have similar views in many areas like climate, energy, counter-terrorism, public health, and social security.”
“Geo-political strategists in the U.S. and Japan hope that they can reap rich benefits in the fight till a bitter end between India and China due to strategic competition,” it added. “China and India cannot allow this plot to succeed.”