External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee meets Chinese Vice President

June 6th, 2008 - 10:28 pm ICT by ANI  

Beijing , June 6 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is on a four-day visit to China to enhance strategic and diplomatic ties, on Friday met with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping here.

Pranab Mukherjee met Xi Jinping, who is tipped to be President Hu Jintao’s successor , after his scheduled meet with the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was cancelled.

The talks between the two leaders were expected to include the long-standing border dispute between India and China .

Indian officials in border areas had complained of more aggressive patrolling by China and encroachments along the Himalayas in the last year. But China had played down the incidents.

The two sides reviewed the border issue in the backdrop of the latest claim by China over an area called finger area in Sikkim .

Ahead of the talks, Mukherjee had said that India would make joint efforts with China to further the bilateral strategic ties.

Besides, Mukherjee also met the 97-year-old Ji Xianlin at the Peoples’ Liberation Army Hospital in Beijing , where he is undergoing medical treatment.

Mukherjee conferred Padma Bhushan , India ’s third highest civilian award, to the bed ridden Sanskrit scholar, Ji Xianlin.

Popularly known as ‘Sanskrit guru’, Ji Xianlin has translated the Ramayana, the ancient Hindu scripture into Chinese language. He has also translated several other Indian classics and has a collection of 24 volumes including articles on ancient Indian languages.

Mukherjee’s visit is aimed at building a positive momentum in bilateral ties and trade between the two nations. But the ties have come under stress with reports of Chinese incursions and China ’s claims over Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim . (ANI)

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