Year of Snake will be significant for India-China ties: Khurshid

New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) Stating that 2013, or the Chinese Year of the Snake, would be significant in India-China relations, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said Saturday that during his talks in Beijing, both sides reaffirmed that incidents like the recent border incursion should not be allowed to come in the way of their larger relationship.

Khurshid, who returned Saturday from his two-day Beijing trip to prepare for the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, said he had raised the incursion by Chinese troops into Depsang in Ladakh area last month.

He said he told the Chinese side there was need to “analyse” the reason for the sudden incursion and that both sides needed to “look at their respective systems to see why such things happen”, referring to the differing perception of the Line of Actual Control – the de facto border between the two countries.

“And we should ensure such incidents are not repeated and if at all despite best efforts they happen, we should address it with greater urgency and less passage of time” than the 20 days it took to resolve the border row, he added.

He added that India had given some suggestions to be incorporated in the new border defence cooperation agreement proposed by the Chinese. Officials of both sides were examining the proposal, which Khurshid said “essentially brings together and consolidates many of the protocols and mechanism in place and takes them forward”.

Khurshid said some “significant movement forward” had been there in his talks on trans-border rivers, and the Chinese side “at the highest level” had reaffirmed that “India’s downstream interests will not be affected adversely”.

Among the proposals on the table are either to enhance the current mechanism of sharing hydrological data or go in for a separate mechanism, he added.

He said the new Chinese leadership had said that India and China need to move faster forward in their relationship, adding “but faster must also be read with steady and surer”. The 16th round of India-China talks are to be held between their special representatives on the border this year.

The trade imbalance had figured in Khurshid’s talks, and he flagged India’s concerns about exports of several items, especially drugs and pharmaceuticals, which face trade barriers in China.

The Chinese side had proposed a Chinese industrial park in India, and the Chinese commerce minister would visit India in that context, he said, adding that he said India would see the proposal in conjunction with the need to balance trade. He said the Chinese side agreed on the need to balance trade and to make it sustainable.

The Chinese side had proposed a Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor and also a regional trading agreement. To the first proposal Khurshid said it would need to have all the parties on board while on the second India “taken a pause” and said let the trade imbalance be addressed first, he said.

Khurshid had raised the issue of two Indians in prison in the Chinese city of Yiwu and also of six Indian diamond merchants in jail in Shenzen in south China. The Chinese informed him that the two Indians had been released and assured to look “in positive light” the case of the six Indians.

“We hope it can be done before Premier Li Keqiang’s visit,” said Khurshid.

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