Good friends India, China can speak with candour: Li

New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) India and China were “strategic partners and good friends” that could speak to each other with candour, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Monday while stressing on discussions on the border issue and river waters.

Addressing the media alongside Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the visiting premier said the two nations had worked to “maintain tranquillity and peace in the border areas”.

Describing the border question as one “left over by history”, he said both sides believed that “we need to improve border mechanisms… make them more efficient” as well as “appropriately manage and resolve our differences”.

Discussing the issue of river waters, he said China had in recent years shared “hydrological information” with India.

“With regard to Indian concerns over trans-border rivers, in recent times we have shared hydrological information with the Indian side and we stand ready to step up communication with the Indian side with regard to the development of water resources and environmental protection,” he said.

Li, who arrived in India Sunday, said the important outcome of his visit was that the two leaders had reached “strategic consensus”.

China and India, he said in his statement to the media, had a “combined population that exceed one third of humanity”.

Their “amicable relationship”, he said, was the new engine for world development.

“Since we are strategic partners and good friends, we can speak with candour,” he said, adding that they did not deny there were problems.

“We have had multiple, friendly, in depth and candid discussions. The most important outcome of these discussions is that the leaders of the two countries have reached strategic consensus and deepened strategic trust.

“Both sides believe that each country should see the other’s development as a major opportunity for itself.

“China and India have a combined population that exceeds one-third of humanity. Amicable relations between China and India will be a positive thing for Asia and a common development of China and India will provide a new engine for world development.

“Since we are strategic partners and we are good friends that can speak to each other with candour, so we do not deny that there are some problems between the two sides,” he said.

Li is heading an 80-member delegation that includes Foreign Minister Wang Yi. On Tuesday, he will go to Mumbai, from where he will go to Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany.

Li had last visited India 27 years ago as the head of a youth delegation and said he had fond memories of that trip.

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