Li says two countries have not shied away from addressing the vexed border issue

India and China on Tuesday informed the world of their determination to resolve outstanding issues through direct, if at times plain, talks between themselves.

On the third day of his engagements here, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the two countries had not shied away from addressing the vexed border issue.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid responded, recalling the two rounds of talks held between Mr. Li and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during which both sides held very “specific discussions.”

They were speaking at a pre-noon gathering of industrialists organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry after which the Chinese Premier left for Mumbai. From there, he will go to Pakistan, Germany and Switzerland.

‘Huge potential’

With Indian industrialists as audience who were joined by about 100 Chinese executives, Mr. Li first sought to put at rest anxieties about unresolved traditional and non-traditional security issues, especially border and water. He then sought to allay Indian unease over the $30-billion annual trade deficit with China. “India and China are huge markets with huge potential. We will support Chinese enterprises to increase investments in India and help Indian products have access to the Chinese market.” Such was the interest in the Chinese Premier’s first public address overseas that there seemed as many diplomats, academics, journalists and civil society representatives as industrialists. And it was this audience Mr. Li and Mr. Khurshid seemed to address.

Mr. Khurshid was intent on making the point that the two countries were sincere about addressing the gaps in bilateral relations, from the contentious border, where a rare flare-up ended a fortnight before Mr. Li’s arrival, to the apprehensions of a lower riparian state.

“The important thing is that we managed to sort it out, and we sorted it out given the existing mechanism. We are trying to not let it happen again by looking at the possibility of discovering why it happened, how the mechanisms can be strengthened. Nobody can solve overnight something that has been there for decades, but the desire and the determination to resolve [the issue] is there. That itself is a very important thing,” Mr. Khurshid said.

Mr. Li pointed out that India and China had not shied away from addressing boundary question and was confident that both sides had the “wisdom to find a fair and mutually acceptable solution.”

More In: National | News