PM, Li talk border at dinner diplomacy

New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Manmohan held informal talks, in which the border stand-off figured, ahead of a dinner hosted by the latter at his official residence here Sunday.

The restricted talks between the two leaders, the first ever between the two leaders since Li assumed office, with no members of their delegations present, are believed to have seen the border issue raised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Li’s visit comes days after a Sino-Indian border stand-off was resolved. Chinese troops intruded some 19 km inside the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de-facto border – April 15 and pitched tents.

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.

Earlier, Li arrived in the afternoon on a three-day state visit at the invitation of Manmohan Singh. He chose India as the first stop on his maiden foreign visit after becoming premier in March.

India’s concerns about China constructing dams on the Brahmaputra river are also believed to have been raised by Manmohan Singh.

The dinner for Premier Li was attended by Congress chief and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, her son and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, Planning Commission Deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia, BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, said sources.

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