India reassures China over Tibet, calls for stronger ties (Lead)

February 9th, 2012 - 12:47 am ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Feb 8 (IANS) Against the backdrop of recent self-immolations by Buddhist monks, India Wednesday struck a cautious note on the growing Tibetan unrest, telling China that it was “willing to offer any help” to ease the recent spike in tensions in the region.

India also assured Beijing that it considered the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) as a part of China and reiterated New Delhi’s policy of not allowing anti-China activities on the Indian soil.

Pitching for building stronger India-China relations, India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna formally inaugurated the Indian embassy’s new $10-million sandstone complex here and called for ramping up people-to-people contacts and economic relations.

Krishna held separate meetings with four senior Chinese leaders, including Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, State Councillor Dai Bingguo, who is also China’s Special Representative for boundary talks with India, and Zhou Yongkang, a powerful member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Ahead of the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Delhi next month, Krishna told his Chinese counterpart that while the two countries work to resolve outstanding issues, these should not be allowed to adversely affect ties in other areas.

“It is inevitable that our two countries will not always be able to agree on all issues. There are differences inherited from history that still remain to be resolved. But if we are serious about creating a better future, our thinking cannot remain trapped in the past,” Krishna said.

Chinese leaders are understood to have raised the Tibetan issue during their meetings with Krishna, who began a confidence-building, three-day visit to China Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters, Krishna confirmed that the Tibetan issue was raised.

“We did discuss Tibetan issue also. It is government of India’s position that the Tibetan Autonomous Region is part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as a result of that we are dealing with internal affairs of China,” he said.

“Hence, we have to be very cautious (on the Tibetan issue) and any help we can render, we are too willing to provide it. But I don’t think that situation will arise,” he said.

In a press release, the Chinese government said Beijing appreciated the firm support of New Delhi over the Tibetan issue where there have recent spate of self-immolations by Buddhist monks and violent demonstrations in Sichuan province, bordering Tibet..

China Tuesday vowed to crack down on growing unrest in Sichuan province and blamed the Tibetan Youth Congress for the violence and self immolations.

Beijing regards the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama as a “splittist” and suspects him of instigating unrest from his abode in Dharamsala in northern India where he has been living for over five decades.

In November last year, the scheduled boundary talks between India and China were deferred after China protested his presence at the global Buddhist conference New Delhi was hosting.

Asked if Chinese activities in Pakistan-administered Kashmir figured in his talks, Krishna said India has already conveyed to Beijing in unequivocal terms that Pakistan was illegally occupying certain territories of Jammu and Kashmir.

Yang announced that Hu would visit India March-end for the fourth BRICS summit of the leaders of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Yang said the two-way trade has already reached $74 billion and the two countries were poised to achieve the target of $100 billion by 2015. The two countries are celebrating 2012 as the ‘Year of India-China Friendship and Cooperation.”

Issues like Afghanistan, Iran and Syria also figured during the talks.

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