10:31 pm - Sunday January 20, 2019

Meeting with China sincere and warm, says Ansari

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Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Monday described his China visit and the bilateral talks as “friendly, cordial and frank” and said India discussed all issues, including the border standoff with Beijing.

While trade and investment issues dominated the talks, issues related to border area disputes were also discussed. Without giving out the details of the talks between the two sides on the border disagreements, Mr. Ansari said there is a “positive” development.

“From 1993 till 2013, governments on both side have gradually reached two agreements, one is that there should be no escalation at the border. The two sides have also agreed that there should be correct behaviour on the border. In 2003, the Vajpayee government signed an agreement, which was expanded by the Manmohan Singh government that said if there are issues they should be a settled under a framework. Special representatives from both sides meet to discuss the framework,” he said.

Replying to a question on China’s response to the talks on the border issue he said, their response is positive as well as they are equal participants [in the discussion].

Referring to relations between the two neighbours, Mr. Ansari said India has been “wise” in it’s dealing with its neighbour. “You cannot choose your neighbours and relatives. [Sometimes] fights happen between families, but our government and theirs too have the capacity to seek solutions that will be fair to both sides.”

On the issue of correcting trade imbalances, Mr. Ansari said there was plain-speak and India was clear that the only solution was either to increase India’s exports to China or increase China’s investment in India.

“Their [China] response was that they need more time to study the issue and it will now be examined at an expert-level,” he said at the end of his five-day visit, which included meetings with the Chinese President, Prime Minister and Vice-President.

Mr. Ansari, who was companied by Minister of State for Commerce, Nirmala Sitharaman, said efforts will be made to implement a single-window system for facilitating business operations in India for the Chinese side.

Mr. Ansari said during the visit, which was also to mark the 60th anniversary of the Panchsheel Treaty, “good, productive gestures of friendship were made by the host.”

He said China reciprocated India’s sentiment of maintaining good relations with its neighbour by asserting it wants personal-level contact with the Indian leadership.

“Chinese President Xi Jingping said he is looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the BRICS summit,” he said.

“We got a positive response and I was told that the Chinese leadership regards a vibrant relationship with India as a critical element of their policy. A number of agreements were also signed between the two sides,” Mr. Ansari said.

Referring to the release of an India-China encyclopaedia, chronicling 2,000 years of history, he said, both sides are not significantly aware of contacts with each other. He said contact between the two countries was “retarded, stopped during the colonial period,” but both sides have no difficulty in resuming them.

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