Following a year that saw both countries trade bitter exchanges over the long-running border dispute, China-India ties appear set to turn the corner when External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna arrives in the Chinese capital on Monday.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Chinese officials struck an optimistic note on how they viewed the general direction of bilateral ties, saying the countries had made “remarkable” progress on expanding engagement beyond the boundary question that once held the relationship hostage, and even sparked renewed strains last year.
“We are hoping and willing to join hands with India to further enhance strategic mutual trust, to boost mutually beneficial co-operation and have closer communication and coordination in bilateral affairs to press ahead with our relationship,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang told journalists, speaking on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, which fell on Thursday.
Festival of India
Mr. Krishna arrives in Beijing on Monday evening, and will launch a six month-long “Festival of India in China” near Beijing's Forbidden City to mark the anniversary. During his four-day visit, he will also hold talks with his counterpart Yang Jiechi and meet with Premier Wen Jiabao.
Indian and Chinese officials hope to use the occasion to draw a line over the tensions between the two countries that surfaced last year.
Media reports in India pointed to increased incursions by Chinese troops along disputed border areas, while China's State-run media responded by accusing India of “arrogance” and harbouring “hegemonic” ambitions in South Asia.
The Chinese government also strongly criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Arunachal Pradesh during Assembly elections in the State, accusing India of “stirring up trouble.” China claims parts of the State, and talks over the border issue have made little progress.
Indian and Chinese officials say relations have warmed following the Copenhagen climate summit, when the two countries closely worked together and even coordinated their negotiating positions.
Mr. Krishna's visit would provide a further opportunity for India and China to “strengthen communication and dialogue,” Mr. Qin said.