No likelihood of contentious issues being raised during Li visit

With just about a week left for the visit of Chinese Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday sought to play down the recent border tension following the incursion of Chinese troops in Ladakh.

Just back here from a two-day visit to Beijing, Mr. Khurshid said the issue was discussed and both sides underscored that such incidents should not happen again. They agreed that the issue should not come in the way of the two countries improving ties.

Expressing satisfaction that the mechanisms in place worked well to end the standoff, he said, “We did not do any post-mortem or apportion blame.”

Referring to a proposal for a border defence cooperation agreement, Mr. Khurshid said the Special Representatives of the two countries would meet in a couple of months to discuss it. He ruled out the possibility of any contentious issue being raised during Mr. Li’s visit. “There are no prickly issues, issues of major differences which can be seen as obstacles.”

Some Memoranda of Understanding could be signed during his visit and some during Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s trip to Beijing later this year, Mr. Khurshid said. “This is for the first time since 1954 that a two-way visit by the Prime Ministers of the two countries will happen in the same year.”

Referring to trans-border rivers, the Minister said India flagged the need for expanding the existing mechanism or setting up a new one to deal with the issues. During his visit, he saw some “movement”’ with China assuring him that it was committed to ensuring that India’s rights were not harmed.

The two sides agreed to do more on the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor, regional trading arrangement and on the issue of trade imbalance between the two countries, which is presently tilted in favour of China.

More In: National | News