Chinese leader meets PM, calls for mutual understanding (Second Lead)

November 1st, 2010 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) Ahead of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit here in December, senior Chinese Communist Party leader Zhou Yongkang Monday called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and conveyed that the two countries needed to resolve difficult issues from a “strategic height”.

India, on its part, said that both sides should address each other’s “concerns and sensitivities” on issues impinging on security and well being and asked Beijing to provide a level playing field to Indian companies, specially in IT and pharma sectors.

Zhou, who began his three-day visit to India Sunday, met Manmohan Singh and conveyed the message of the top Chinese leadership about Beijing’s sincere desire to develop relations with India in all sectors and to deal with differences from a long-term perspective, said informed sources.

He also met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari and is expected to meet the Congress leadership.

Manmohan Singh, who met the Chinese premier three days ago in Hanoi, underlined the need for both countries to be sensitive to each other’s concerns, a message he conveyed during his interaction with Wen.

When the prime ministers of India and China shake hands, the world notices, Manmohan Singh told Zhou, the ninth top ranking leader in the Communist party who is in India at the invitation of the Congress party.

Zhou’s visit kicks off a string of high-level official interactions, including the boundary talks between special representatives of the two countries this month and the visit of the Chinese premier to India in December.

The visit comes amid differences between the two countries over a host of issues, including the Chinese practice of issuing stapled visas for residents of Jammu and Kashmir, and Beijing’s increased infrastructure investment in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in areas ranging from power to highways.

Addressing a seminar on the Sino-India relations, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said the relationship between India and China was “grossly under-realised” and that both the countries face similar challenges, including issues relating to food and energy security, inclusive growth and skill development.

“As rising powers, India and China are projected to have a competitive relationship in the final analysis. It is up to us to disapprove such a scenario by presenting examples of concrete partnership,” Krishna said, adding that a hotline between the two prime ministers will also become operational soon.

He said India would offer a warm welcome to the Chinese premier when he visits India in December.

“While we accept that there are outstanding issues between the two large countries, we have to address each other’s concerns and sensitivities on issues impinging each other’s security and well being,” he said.

“China should provide a level-playing field to Indian companies, especially in pharma and IT sectors, where we face barriers restricting market access,” he said.

Zhou enunciated the Chinese approach of improving relations with India and of dealing with controversial issues in a spirit of mutual understanding and underlined that Beijing’s development was an opportunity, not a threat, to New Delhi.

“China’s development is an opportunity rather than a threat to India. Likewise, India’s development is not a threat but an opportunity for China,” Zhou said at the seminar, organised by the Communist Party of China and the Congress.

“For controversial issues and disagreements in exchanges, we should deal with them properly on the basis of mutual respect, consultation on an equal basis and the principle of mutual understanding and accommodation, so as not to let improper handling of specific issues affect the overall relations.

“In light of such a situation, it is all more necessary for China and India to handle our relationship from a strategic height and long-term perspective,” he said.

India and China, the Chinese leader said, need to promote mutual political trust through high-level visits and cooperation of the governments, parties, parliaments and militaries.

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