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Updated: January 21, 2011 19:25 IST

Gadkari in Beijing, urges more pressure on Pak

Ananth Krishnan
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Nitin Gadkari, the first BJP chief to visit China, told the country’s leaders that there was “strong public opinion” in India against their projects in PoK. File photo
Nitin Gadkari, the first BJP chief to visit China, told the country’s leaders that there was “strong public opinion” in India against their projects in PoK. File photo

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Nitin Gadkari has called on China to do more to pressure Pakistan on cross-border terrorism, and told the Chinese leadership there was “strong public opinion” in India against China’s projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Mr. Gadkari, who is the first BJP president to visit China, conveyed a strong message to the Chinese leadership in talks on Friday, focusing on China’s support to its long-term strategic ally, Pakistan, on a range of issues from nuclear commerce to terrorism.

The BJP president held talks with Li Changchun, the fifth-ranked member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Politburo’s Standing Committee, and Ai Ping, a Vice-Minister in the CPC International Department.

Mr. Gadkari told the Chinese leadership that both countries needed “to work closely with the international community to strengthen the global framework against terrorism,” the BJP said in a statement.

China, he said, had “a greater influence on Pakistan." The BJP expected Beijing to pressure Islamabad “to stop exporting [its] terror machine” to India. Beijing's "reported attempts to block certain Pakistan-based terrorist outfits" from being black-listed by the United Nations, he said, had "an adverse impact on the BJP's efforts to improve people-to-people contacts."

The BJP president also called on China to resolve disputes with India over its issuing of stapled visas to Indian citizens from Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh. The visa problem, he said, was “damaging China’s image among the Indian people.”

Chinese officials told Mr. Gadkari they shared his concerns, the statement from the BJP said. But neither terrorism nor Pakistan was found mentioned in statements issued by the Chinese government after Friday's talks.

The official Xinhua news agency reported that Mr. Gadkari expressed “admiration for China's tremendous economic growth and social progress” and “hope that relations between the BJP and the CPC develop and expand.”

Mr. Li was quoted as saying relations between the CPC and Indian political parties were important to ties between the two countries, and bilateral ties had improved since the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties was celebrated last year. He also called on both countries “to cement political mutual trust."

The BJP president did, however, voice support for establishing a cooperative relationship with China. On his arrival in Beijing on Thursday, he said there was “consensus across the political spectrum in India for cooperative and cordial relations.”

Resolving the boundary dispute, he said, should be made “a strategic objective." He also called for “peaceful negotiations” in a “fair, reasonable, mutually acceptable and proactive manner.”

During his five-day visit, which was organised by the CPC's International Department to take forward party-to-party ties, Mr. Gadkari will visit the southern commercial centres of Shanghai and Guangzhou, a solar power plant and a new energy research institute.

The 90 year-old Communist Party of China, which initially only established party links with organisations with similar political views, has widened exchanges with both ruling and opposition political parties across the ideological spectrum since China’s opening up in 1978. According to its International Department, the CPC has party ties with more than 400 political organisations in 160 countries.

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