Khurshid to visit China May 9, confident border row will be resolved

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said Thursday he would visit China May 9 and expressed confidence that the current stand-off between the troops of the two countries on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh would be resolved.

“I am going on May 9,” Khurshid told reporters when asked about his proposed visit to China.

Khurshid said there was a working mechanism between the two countries to deal with such issues and expressed confidence that New Delhi and Beijing would be able to resolve the row following the incursion by Chinese troops in the Depsang area in Ladakh.

“Let us allow that mechanism to find its solution, and repeatedly it has found (resolution). We have good reasons to believe that it should be able to do it again,” he told reporters.

On Wednesday, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said that talks were on with China at various levels to resolve the stand-off.

“Our government will take every step to protect the national interest and the country’s security. Negotiations are going on at various levels to resolve the issue,” Antony had told reporters.

Indian and Chinese military commanders had Tuesday held a second flag meeting to resolve the stand-off over incursion by Chinese troops into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

Chinese troops had April 15 set up a post inside Indian territory, about 10 km from the LAC, the de-facto border between India and China.

India has asked China to maintain the status quo that existed before the intrusion.

Khurshid’s trip comes ahead Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India in the third week of May.

Earlier, delivering a speech at FICCI, Khurshid said that “disagreement” on any issue is not “betrayal”.

“People ask me what is wrong with India that all its neighbours are not its friends. And I tell them, you have an idea of friendship which is different from mine. My idea of friendship is when you are frank, free with each other, you have expectations and you deliver.

“You agree and you disagree, but you have constant faith that a disagreement is not betrayal. A disagreement is like two intelligent people working out life plans and not necessarily kicking the heels, saying one is right and one is wrong,” he said.

Khurshid also said such situations arise as there is a difference in perception between the two countries as there is no demarcation of their border.

A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry has reiterated that China’s border troops have “strictly observed relevant agreements between China and India”.

Responding to a journalist’s question on the issue, Hua Chunying told a daily press briefing in Beijing: “The Chinese side has confined activities to within the Chinese border and never trespassed across the line.”

She said that China and India have already established a consultation and coordination mechanism on border issues, adding that “the communication channels are open.”

The maintenance of peace along the border is the consensus between China and India and complies with both their interests, Hua said.

There are deep and strong relations between the two countries. In 2012, bilateral trade between India and China stood at over $65 billion.

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