PM stresses need to maintain peace on border with Li

New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) The importance of maintaining peace and tranquility on the border was stressed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his informal talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang here Sunday night.

Holding restricted talks with the Chinese premier who arrived earlier in the afternoon on a three-day state visit, Manmohan Singh is believed to have firmly raised the issue of the border as well as India’s concerns about China constructing dams on the Brahmaputra river, which is set to severely affect water flow in downstream India.

The prime minister is also believed to have raised the trade deficit. Manmohan Singh is said to have articulated the issues in a “constructive but firm manner”.

The restricted talks, with no members of their delegations present, were held ahead of a private dinner that the prime minister hosted for the Chinese premier.

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.

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,

On Monday, India and China led by their prime ministers are to hold formal, delegation-level talks.

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