India and China on Monday discussed new ideas aimed at taking forward the bilateral ties keeping in view mutual concerns and interests, as Beijing sought a “healthy, stable and dynamic” relationship with far-reaching significance to the two nations, Asia and the world at large.
National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, who is here on a 4-day visit as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Special Envoy, called on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at Zhongnanhai, the sprawling leadership compound next to the Forbidden City.
Mr. Wen warmly received Mr. Menon and appreciated Dr. Singh’s commitment to the improvement of bilateral ties during their 40-minute meeting, a day ahead of the scheduled visit of President Asif Ali Zardari here against the backdrop of concerns expressed by India and the U.S. over China’s plans to build two new nuclear reactors for Pakistan without NSG’s nod.
Mr. Menon handed over a letter from Dr. Singh, saying that the Prime Minister especially sent him with a personal message of friendship and his greetings and warm personal regards.
“For us in India the relationship with People’s Republic of China is one of the most important that we have,” Mr. Menon said.
Mr. Wen, on his part, said that “a healthy, stable and dynamic China-India relationship is of far-reaching significance to the two nations, Asia and the whole world at large.”
“China regards India as an important strategic partner of cooperation. We will work with India to maintain high-level visits and take care of each other’s core interests and major concerns,” state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Mr. Wen as telling Mr. Menon.
He pledged to enhance dialogue and cooperation with India to benefit the two peoples and make joint efforts to promote world peace and common prosperity. Mr. Wen also extended greetings to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Mr. Menon said both India and China have developed rapidly in recent years and the two nations have established a strategic partnership of cooperation, with increasing mutual trust.
He said this has laid a sound foundation for strengthening bilateral cooperation.
With the world going through an important development phase, both India and China should take bigger role in directing its course, Mr. Menon said.
India would work with China to jointly make development planning and create new situations for the growth of bilateral ties, he noted.
Mr. Wen told Mr. Menon that Dr. Singh had sent an “important and timely message” last year for the improvement of ties.
“This time you brought another personal letter from the Prime Minister” expressing similar sentiments, he said. “We highly appreciate his commitment to this relationship.”