External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna began his Beijing visit by calling on the Chinese government to rethink its opposition to India's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and to cooperate more on tackling terror from Pakistan.
Mr. Krishna said it was “time for China to review previously held positions [on United Nations reforms] and welcome the presence in the Security Council of a nation with which it has much in common.”
He was speaking in an interaction with scholars at the China Institute of International Studies, a government-affiliated think-tank.
Asked for a response to his comments, a Chinese official did not say more than that China was willing to hold talks with India on the U.N. issue. “We hope relevant parties can have discussions in a patient way to reach a package of consensus on the issue,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said.
“We will together with other parties maintain working mechanism of the U.N. China and India are important countries in the region, and we understand the desire of India to play a larger role on the world stage.”
The issue will be discussed on Wednesday morning, when Mr. Krishna will hold talks with his counterpart Yang Jiechi. He said he would also raise India's concerns over China supporting development projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and issuing stapled visas to Indian citizens from Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr. Krishna will meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday afternoon.
Convergence of interests
But on Tuesday, he painted a largely optimistic picture of Sino-Indian ties, saying the two developing countries had an increasing convergence of interests on the global scale, from climate change to global trade rules. “We strongly feel that the India-China relationship is grossly under-realised and the capacities for expansion are enormous,” he said.
He also blamed “vested interests,” without naming them, of exaggerating the two countries' “divergences.” “India and China must not just co-operate; they must be seen to be doing so by the rest of the world,” he said.
Mr. Krishna also sent out a strong message to Pakistan, China's long-time strategic ally, saying there were “few countries which believe that terrorism could be an instrument through which they would like achieve certain immediate objectives of either destabilising a country or creating a situation where development taking place will not be allowed to, at the pace at which it is taking place.”
In Wednesday's talks, Indian officials are expected to discuss the recent strains over the long-running boundary dispute, over which 13 rounds of talks have made little progress. Mr. Krishna called for patience from both sides. “We have agreed upon a mechanism in order to find a mutually acceptable solution to this complex problem,” he told reporters.
“We have had 13 meetings so far, and you know boundary issues are the most complex of issues, especially when you have a long boundary like the one we have. It is going to be a time consuming affair, and one has to be very patient,” he said.
On Wednesday evening, Mr. Krishna will launch a six-month-long “Festival of India in China” in Beijing's Forbidden City to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
“The two countries have agreed to utilise this opportunity to deepen their ties and moving forward of the cooperation of strategic partnership,” Ms. Jiang of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.