India, China seek early end to border dispute: PM

New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) India and China favour early resolution of their border dispute and want peace to be maintained on the frontier until then, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday.

Manmohan Singh also told the media along with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that they had “wide ranging and candid discussions” on all matters of mutual concern and realised there was “a great deal of meeting of minds”.

The two leaders addressed the news conference a day after Li arrived in India on a three-day trip, his first visit abroad since assuming office in March. From India, Li will go to Pakistan, Germany and Switzerland.

Manmohan Singh said the recent incursion by Chinese troops into Indian territory was taken up for discussion when the two leaders met for private talks here Sunday evening.

Chinese troops intruded some 19 km inside the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de-facto border – April 15 and pitched tents, raising tensions between the two countries.

The row ended May 5 after several rounds of negotiations – military and diplomatic – with both sides reverting to the position that existed before April 15.

Manmohan Singh did not provide details of what he told Li about the incident but said that both leaders “took stock of lessons learn from the recent incident in the western sector” of the Sino-Indian border.

He said the “existing mechanism proved their worth” after the Chinese incursion.

He said he and Li had tasked the two countries’ Special Representatives to consider further measures that may be needed to maintain peace along the winding and disputed border.

“We agreed that our Special Reprsentatives will meet soon to continue discussions, seeking early agreement on a framework for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable boundary settlement.”

India and China fought a border war in 1962. Both countries claim each other’s territory.

According to Manmohan Singh, while India and China “have had our differences in more recent times”, they had steadily built a mutually beneficial relationship over the last 25 years.

“While seeking an early resolution of the boundary question, Premier Li and I agreed that this (peace and tranquility) must continue to be preserved.”

Manmohan Singh said he told Li that the rise of China and India was good for the world and “that the world has enough space to accommodate the growth aspirations of both our peoples”.

He said both of them had discussions Sunday on “all matters of interest and concern”.

“I am delighted that there are so many areas of convergence between us and on which there is a great deal of meeting of minds,” he added.

Manmohan Singh said he told Li about India’s concerns about the trade deficit and sought increased market access to China for Indian exports and investments.

“I also invited increased Chinese involvement in the vast opportunities in our infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.”

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