PM meets Hu Jintao, says border talks on track

October 26th, 2008 - 11:43 am ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh

By Naveen Kapoor

Beijing/ Onboard Air India One, Oct 26 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh met his Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the seventh two-day Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Beijing on Saturday.

Dr. Singh said the Chinese President agreed with him that the two countries would be able to achieve the trade target of 60 billion dollars set for 2010.

“We expressed satisfaction at the rapid growth of trade turnover which now exceeds 40 billion dollars. When President Hu Jintao had come, we had fixed a target of 60 billion dollar for 2010. Both of us expressed confidence that that target will be realized,” Dr. Singh told reporters on board his special aircraft on his way back to New Delhi.

India, whose booming economy has brought New Delhi closer to the US, has sought to forge common ground on issues such as climate change and energy security with China.

Dr. Singh added that both the countries were holding discussions at experts” level to sort out problems regarding trans-border rivers.

“Last time, I was in Beijing in January, I raised with President Hu Jintao that our two countries should cooperate at the level of our experts in dealing with the trans-border rivers. The President had kindly agreed that expert groups on both sides should meet. Two meetings have been held. The third meeting is planned next year and both of us expressed confidence that these meetings are a good beginning,” he added.

The Prime Minister further expressed satisfaction over the progress of talks on resolving the boundary issue with China.

“Now, we also touched upon the boundary issue. Both of us expressed our keen desire to find an early settlement. We both agreed that we should instruct our special representatives to expedite the process,” Dr. Singh said.

Although India and China have signed a treaty to maintain “peace and tranquility” along the disputed frontier and agreed to find a political solution to the row, talks over a 3,500 km disputed frontier have made little progress.

The Prime Minister also confirmed that there were no talks on nuclear cooperation with China and he expects that Pakistan should deliver on its commitments.

Dr. Singh also called upon all the political parties to help cement ties between various communities and came out strongly against branding members of any community as “terrorists.”

Let us not attribute terror to any particular community. Profiling communities is not the way to handle the problem, which if not handled properly has very serious divisive potential. Our country cannot afford such division. So, all segments of public and political parties must work together to see that this communal divide does not get widened,” Dr. Singh said.

Attacks on Christians in Orissa and bombings by suspected militants that have killed hundreds have dominated media and political debates in the last month.

Speaking on schedule for general elections, Dr. Singh said India is due for general election before May next year and polls would be held on schedule.

“Elections will be held on schedule and this is not a decision of the government alone. This decision is been taken after full consultation with the main opposition party and others,” he said. (ANI)

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