Chinese foreign minister does not get to meet Sonia Gandhi

September 9th, 2008 - 2:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiNew Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) A meeting sought by visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechie with United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi slated for Tuesday morning did not take place.Official sources said that though the Chinese had set aside a slot between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. for the meeting, the Indian side did not finalise it.

Instead, the Chinese foreign minister went on a short tour of Delhi, visiting some museums in the capital.

Yang, who is here on his maiden visit as China’s foreign minister, called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and had a detailed discussion on the entire gamut of bilateral relations with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday.

The decision not to confirm the meeting with Sonia Gandhi may be seen as India’s way of showing displeasure at the “questionable role” China played at the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) meeting in Vienna last weekend.

Though the Chinese attempt to delay a consensus from being reached in the NSG, the 45-member powerful cartel that controls the supply of nuclear fuel and technology in the world finally agreed to award a waiver to India after a marathon 76-hour meeting.

All decisions in the NSG are taken by consensus and the Chinese have argued that since the waiver was finally given to India it was proof that China did not block the process.

China’s role at the NSG was raised during talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries.

Yang on his part made it clear that China had not played a “spoiler’s role” as had been suggested in certain quarters and said it had always played a constructive part in the NSG.

Though New Delhi was unhappy with the role China played at the NSG, it made sure that the issue did not cloud the overall atmosphere of bilateral relations between the two sides.

The prime minister told the Chinese foreign minister Monday that there was a “consensus” among the people of India, the government and the political parties to have strong relations with India.

Mukherjee hosted a cultural programme followed by a dinner for his Chinese host Monday evening.

Yang will Tuesday afternoon deliver a speech on China-India Strategic Partnership to further elaborate how keen Beijing is to have strong ties with New Delhi.

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