Stapled visas, U.N. seat may figure in talks

During Premier Wen Jiabao's visit this week, India and China are expected to discuss issues that have recently strained the relations, such as China's position on Kashmir and its issuing stapled visas to Indian citizens from Jammu and Kashmir.

“For issues such as visas, I believe the working-level staff will talk about it,” Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said at a briefing.

He repeated China's assurances over dams it is building and planning across the Brahmaputra.

“China and India have had very good communication on this issue,” he said. “This will not pose obstacles to the development of relations and will not affect the lives of people living downstream of rivers.”

He said the two countries would discuss India's candidature for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

China is the only one of the five permanent members that has not voiced explicit support for India's bid.

“I believe our discussions will touch upon this matter,” Mr. Hu said, adding it was “not the first time this matter has come up.” He indicated that any change in China's position was unlikely. “We have made it clear what China's position is and what are the changes in China's position,” he said. “We are happy to see India play a bigger role in the international arena, including the United Nations.”

Of particular focus during Mr. Wen's visit is trade, which has rapidly grown from $18.7 billion when the Premier was last in India in 2005 to an expected $60 billion this year.

China was willing to work with India to help address the widening trade imbalance, which reached a record $16 billion in China's favour last year, said Liang Wentao, deputy director-general at the Ministry of Commerce.

China planned to send more trade and investment missions to India to help improve the trade structure. India, he said, had become “one of the most important overseas project contracting” destinations for China.

The two countries are expected to sign a number of financing deals for import orders placed by Indian companies. Mr. Liang singled out Reliance Power's recent $ 8.3-billion purchase of 36 coal-fired generators from Shanghai Electric as a “highlight” of the trade ties.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 4:39:05 AM |

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