India and China on Friday expressed their determination to carry their relations forward through dialogue, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao instructing their officials to “work their way through” all difficult issues.
The two leaders met for 45 minutes on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit here.
Mr. Wen said he would visit India before year-end. He suggested that both sides reach consensus on some major aspects to lay the foundation for the visit.
The leaders instructed their Special Representatives to address the border issue with a “sense of urgency,” with Dr. Singh highlighting the need for both sides to be sensitive to each other's core issues. The Special Representatives were asked to meet in Beijing before next month-end and given clear directions on how the two leaders wanted them to resolve all difficult issues, National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon told journalists.
Both leaders covered the entire gamut of relations, including the issue of China issuing stapled visas to people domiciled in Jammu and Kashmir and the consequent pause in high-level defence exchanges. “In their 10th meeting in six years, they took a broad view of the strategic significance of India-China ties and expressed satisfaction at the development of relations,” Mr. Menon said.
Mr. Wen agreed with Dr. Singh's oft-repeated statement that there was enough space in the world to accommodate the growth of both countries. There was enough space for India and China to have a cooperative relationship in “all areas.”
Mr. Menon said that prior to Mr. Wen's arrival in December, India was looking forward to the opportunity provided by the visit on Sunday of Zhou Yong Kan, Member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, to “have a much freer and broader exchange of views.”
Mr. Wen said China was “very conscious” of the trade imbalance with India and listed some of the steps taken by Beijing to address this issue. Mr. Menon pointed to regular high-level meetings on the issue and the resultant diminishing of the imbalance. “We will continue to work on it.” Bilateral trade in the first nine months of the year touched $45 billion and was on course to meet the target of $60 billion for the year.
Asked to spell out the core issues that Dr. Singh wanted both countries to be sensitive to, Mr. Menon declined to “put a gloss” on what the Prime Minister specifically said. The Prime Ministers resolved to continue working together on a range of issues, including climate change, counter-terrorism, disaster management, energy and food security on which both had “similar or identical views.”