India, China reject confrontation, pitch for greater trust (Lead)January 9th, 2012 - 11:06 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) Ahead of their boundary talks next week, India and China Monday rejected an “adversarial relationship” amid recent irritants and called for greater all-round cooperation to scale up strategic trust that will enable them to shape the evolving international order.
In a bid to keep sensitive bilateral ties on an even keel, China’s Ambassador to India Zhang Yan acknowledged that there are “differences and challenges left over by history,” alluding to the decades-old boundary dispute, but pitched for greater trust and cooperation to resolve these issues.
Without naming anyone, the Chinese envoy said that “some are trying to create a wedge between the two countries but asserted that they will not succeed”.
The cooperation between India and China will benefit each other and the confrontation will hurt us, Zhang said.
Despite prophecies with evil intentions, India-China relations will take their own course and go where their national interests lie, the envoy said.
Underlining the need for “equilibrium” in relations between India and China, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon pitched for a closer collaborative relationship so that the “potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation is limited.”
“It is in our mutual interest to work together, bilaterally and with other partners, to reduce uncertainty and create an international environment that is supportive to our domestic transformation efforts,” Menon said, speaking at a function organised by the Chinese embassy to celebrate an exhibition on the India-China Year of Exchanges in 2011.
“Relations between India and China and their new equilibrium hold an important key to the emerging economic and strategic landscape of Asia and, to a certain extent, the world,” Menon said.
“There is enough space for both India and China to realise their development aspirations,” he stressed.
Alluding to some “vocal experts” who argue that despite the numerous cooperative elements in our economic relations and approach to international issues, India and China are bound to be strategic adversaries, Menon said such determinism was “misplaced.”
“It ignores the successful experience and demonstrated expertise of both governments in managing differences and building on commonalities for over three decades and particularly since the Rajiv Gandhi visit to China in 1988,” he said.
“The issue is whether we can continue to manage the elements of competition within an agreed strategic framework which permits both of us to pursue our core interests. I see no reason why that should not be so,” he asserted.
Menon stressed that India and China will have “key roles to play in forging a new compact for common and collective security for Asia.”
Days before Menon will hold talks with Dai Bingguo, China’s special representative, here, likely Jan 16-17, to resolve the boundary dispute, he described it as “difficult issue” and stressed on efforts by both sides to keep the border peaceful.
“On the settlement itself, we are in the second stage of the three stage process of agreeing principles, a framework and finally a boundary line,” he said.
Menon’s comments came days after China recently denied visa to an India Air Force officer, who was to go as a member of the Indian military delegation to China, on grounds that he was from Arunachal Pradesh, the Indian northeastern state which is claimed by China.
This led to India scaling down its delegation from the original 30 to 15. The truncated military delegation is expected to leave for China Tuesday.
To prevent this crucial relationship with China from skidding off the track, India went ahead with the annual defence dialogue last month despite the row over the Dalai Lama that led to the postponement of the boundary talks which were scheduled earlier in November.
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Tags: adversarial relationship, bilateral ties, boundary dispute, china relations, chinese embassy, chinese envoy, collaborative relationship, development aspirations, even keel, evil intentions, india china, international environment, irritants, miscalculation, mutual interest, national interests, national security adviser, old boundary, transformation efforts, zhang yan