Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan on Friday called on Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh and expressed his government’s desire to further build confidence among the people of the two countries.
As part of the confidence-building exercise, a senior member of the Standing Committee of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of China, Zhou Yongkang, will be visiting India from November 16 to 20.
Mr. Zhang told Mr. Singh that the senior party leader would also meet him apart from exchanging views with senior leaders of the ruling Congress party. He pointed out that it would be the most significant visit of any Chinese leader to India after President Hu Jintao’s visit three years ago.
Mr. Singh, while dwelling on India-China relations, said the people of India and the BJP as a political party were always in favour of maintaining cordial relations with all neighbours, including China. He said India was always ready to walk a step forward, but it had to be reciprocated.
The BJP president recalled that the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was the first Foreign Minister to visit China after the 1962 war, and had again visited China in 2003 as Prime Minister.
Mr. Singh said the recurring claims made by China over Arunachal Pradesh were a “serious interference” in India’s internal matters. The BJP rejected China’s objection over the visit of Indian leaders to the State, particularly to that of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Mr. Rajnath Singh made it clear that the BJP fully supported the diplomatic efforts of the government in taking up recent issues such as incursions, the building of a dam over the Brahmaputra, and projects in PoK with the Chinese government.
He added that India and China needed to focus more on development strategies at the time of the economic meltdown in the West instead of frittering away their energies against each other.
Mr. Zhang said he had taken note of the issues raised by the BJP president and added that China also wanted cordial relations, but there were some “historical left-over issues” between the two countries which were of sensitive nature.
He also emphasised the need to have regular high-level contacts between the BJP leaders and the Communist Party of China.