The outcome of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s two-day visit to China, especially the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), has underlined both countries’ willingness to manage their differences and sent “a positive and powerful message” to the world, said Chinese officials and state media on Friday.
“There is a Chinese saying that a distant relative is not as good as a close neighbour,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying here. Beijing, she said, was “committed to building up strategic mutual trust” and “deepening practical cooperation across the board” with its neighbours.
The BDCA, which expands and formalises additional confidence-building measures, was described as a “landmark legal document” in an article published in the State-run China Daily. “Beijing and New Delhi have successfully brought the border situation under control and properly handled the latest ups and downs,” said Qu Xing, a senior strategic affairs scholar and head of the China Institute of International Studies, affiliated to the Foreign Ministry.
The agreement, he told the newspaper, will “help eliminate potential misunderstanding and misjudgement”.
An official said the government had attached special emphasis to the visit and wanted to send a message by “according [him] very special treatment usually not given to other leaders”.
On Wednesday, China played host to three Prime Ministers — of India, Russia and Mongolia.
Officials said it was only Dr. Singh who was given “special treatment such as Premier Li Keqiang personally escorting the Prime Minister around the Forbidden City and a lunch with the former Premier, Wen Jiabao”.
“What was noticeable was that all the talks took place in a very candid and frank atmosphere,” and all issues were discussed.
Sensitive issues such as Tibet also figured. “There is a feeling that both countries have handled the Tibetan issue well,” the official said.
Hu Shisheng, a South Asia scholar at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the governments had shown “strong consensus” and made clear “they want to eliminate disturbance from sensational media reports about the border issues”.
An agreement to take forward the talks on a Bangladesh-China-India- Myanmar economic corridor would be “a defining factor of the following decade”, he told the newspaper. A joint statement after the talks said a first joint study group meeting on the project would be held in December in Kunming, a south-western province bordering Myanmar.
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the visit had “sent a positive and powerful message that the two countries are committed to working together,” in comments after Dr. Singh’s speech at the Communist Party Central Committee’s Party School.